Power Take-Off Injuries: What You Should Know
Power Take-Off injuries are very common on a farm. According to the National Agricultural Safety Database, most Power Take-Off accidents occur when clothing and/or limbs are entangled in the rotating shaft. This doesn’t mean it is the operator’s fault when an accident occurs. Chances are the manufacturer is to blame.
Power Take Off (PTO) is a term used to describe the process of transmitting power from one point to another. A PTO shaft, for example, is a cylindrical metal rod that attaches to a power source, such as a tractor, at one end and an attachment, such as a brush hog mower, at the other. When the tractor’s engine is running, power flows along the shaft. The shaft rotates at engine speed, transferring energy from the engine to the attachment. The PTO shaft can rotate at a speed of nine times per second.
Even at low speeds, the PTO shaft can injure an operator. NEVER step over the PTO shaft.
PTO entanglements cause extensive damage to trapped limbs. Sometimes it requires limb amputation. If disengaging the PTO, use caution. Movement can cause additional injuries to the victim. When applicable, cut away the clothing to allow the victim to breathe easier. Do this with caution to prevent the victim from moving. Any movement may allow a severed limb to fall free, aggravate internal and spinal injuries, or cause severe blood loss.
PTO Safety Practices
Though not always convenient or easy, there are several ways to reduce the risk of PTO injury incidents. Recognize that the PTO shaft turns at speeds that are faster than our reaction time. It is easy to get snagged into a turning PTO shaft. To help minimize risk, follow these guidelines:
- Stop the tractor engine and disengage the PTO from working on the machine or unclog it.
- Keep guards in place.
- Wear close-fitting clothing to prevent entanglement of loose clothing parts.
- Secure long hair under a hat when working around the PTO.
- Instruct all operators about the hazards of the PTO.
- Keep children away from all turning parts of the machine, not just the PTO.
Even though there are ways to try to minimize Power Take-Off injuries, farm equipment is still unsafe. Designers and manufacturers of farm machinery have an obligation to make sure their products are as safe as possible. This isn’t always the case. Even if you are being as safe as possible, accidents can still occur from defective or unshielded PTO shafts. When this occurs, you may be entitled to compensation.
Manufacturers who design and distribute unsafe PTO shafts should pay you for the losses you suffer due to using them. Contact the Farmer Injury Resource Center today for a completely confidential consultation. We will answer all your questions and try our best to help you and your family recoup the financial losses you have suffered.