4 tips for PTO safety


The power take-off shaft powers implements attached to the tractor. It is important to recognize that PTO shafts rotate at a speed faster than our reaction times. For that reason, it’s important to understand the parts of the PTO and not take shortcuts when maneuvering around a moving PTO. (Yeah, we know you’ve done it a hundred times, but that next time might be deadly.)

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1PTO Stub
The tractor’s stub shaft, often called PTO, is what transfers power to the PTO-run equipment. Moving at top speeds of 540 rpm (9 times/second) or 1,000 rpm (16.6 times/second) means that entanglements can happen easily. Forgetting to disengage the clutch for a quick check could cause the operator to catch a boot lace or loose piece of clothing in the PTO.

2PTO drivelines
The drive shaft that connects the PTO stub to the tractor, is known as the implement input driveline (IID). The entire IID shaft is a wrap point hazard if the IID is completely unshielded. Because it is attached to the PTO stub, the driveline rotates just as fast as the stub, creating a wrap hazard that can pull loose clothing and hair and trap your body faster than you can react to what is happening.

3PTO guards
Guarding a PTO system includes a “master shield” for the tractor PTO stub and connection end of the implement input driveline shaft. The PTO master shield is attached to the tractor and extends over and around the PTO stub on three sides, protecting the PTO stub and the front joint of the drive shaft of the connected machine.

4Additional safety tips
Keep all components of PTO systems shielded and guarded. Regularly test driveline guards by spinning or rotating them to ensure that they have not become stuck to the shaft. Disengage the PTO and shut off the tractor before dismounting to clean, repair, service, or adjust machinery. Always walk around tractors and machinery instead of stepping over a rotating shaft (and we can show you pictures, if you really don’t believe us). Always use the driveline recommended for your machine. Never switch drivelines among different machines. Make all operators aware of the dangers of PTOs and keep children away from rotating parts.

Source: Penn State University Extension

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