Farm equipment can be both useful and unmanageable, especially when it comes to the commonly used power take-off assistance. Staying aware of the dangers associated with this can help keep you and anyone else around your farm equipment safe.
The Power Take-Off (PTO) shaft is an effective way to transfer mechanical power between a farm tractor and its implements and attachments. The PTO system helped revolutionize North American agriculture during the 1930’s. It is one of the oldest, yet most persistent hazards associated with farm machinery.
What is a Power Take-Off System?
A power take-off (PTO) is a device that transfers an engine’s power to another piece of equipment. A PTO allows the energy source to transmit power to equipment that does not have its own engine or motor. One of the most dangerous aspects of a PTO powered shaft is that it can tear a human limb off before you would ever have the chance to stop the machine. Because of this, the tractor driver must take extreme caution to operate the PTO without making an error, due to the speed of the rotation.
How does this happen?
Most often injuries from the stubs or drivelines on a tractor. If it is not covered and you are wearing loose clothing, clothing can get caught in the rotation.
Since the inner mechanics of farm machinery are more open than say a car or bus engine, even a distraction that is just split second can lead to a serious injury. It is also possible that the drivelines on the tractor could come apart if they are not properly equipped and this could lead to flying pieces that could hit someone causing injury.
How do you avoid PTO?
The very best way to avoid PTO is to avoid wearing big, loose clothing. Wearing a hat and/ using a hair tie to keep long hair out of the way is suggested. It is also suggested that safety stickers are carefully placed in spots that are easily viewed, this will help others from making these same mistakes.
Also, if the engine is running, we highly suggest not trying to fix any machinery that has become loose or needs adjusting. Sharp turns or engaging the equipment only when you use it can cause the PTO shaft to become worn out faster.
What are some Safety Practices?
You should keep all components of PTO system shielded and guarded. You should regularly test driveline guards by rotating and spinning them to ensure they have not become stuck to the shaft. And finally, disengage the PTO and shut off your tractor before getting off to repair, clean, service, or adjust any of the machinery.