Power Take Off Safety

Doing chores in the winter always seems to take longer than they do in the warmer seasons, but never short yourself on farm safety. Many of the winter chores require PTO use such as feed grinders, feed wagons, snow blowers and manure spreaders. Remember safety first.

The Power Take Off (PTO) shaft is an efficient means of transferring mechanical power between farm tractors and implements. It is also one of the oldest and most persistent hazards associated with farm machinery.

Typical injuries resulting from getting caught in an open power-take off shaft are amputations, severe lacerations, multiple fractures, spine and neck injuries, complete body destruction and even death.

All it may take for a person to become entangled in an open power-take off is a single thread, string from a hood, or a strand of loose hair. As the items begin to wrap extremely fast around the power take-off shaft they pull the victim directly into the PTO unit.

Maintenance & Safety Practices

  • Keep the master shield in place at all times.
  • Check, repair or replace damaged or missing driveline shields.
  • Stay safely away from unshielded moving parts.
  • Never modify driveline shields to make servicing or connections easier.
  • Watch your step when walking or working around a running machine, never stop across a rotating PTO driveline.
  • Wear work clothing with no loose ends or strings to catch on or be caught by machinery, make sure they are snug fitting clothing.
  • Keep long hair under a cap or tied back to prevent it from being caught by the machinery.
  • Keep children and non-workers out of the danger zone.
  • Always disengage the PTO, shut off the engine and remove the key before getting off the tractor.


Accidents never "just happen." People get careless, take short cuts, or try to do things too quickly. Using a little common sense and follow safety practices can prevent accidents.

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