Prevent Farm Equipment Entanglements

  From the October 30, 2017 Issue of Agri-News
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 Machinery entanglements are one of the top three leading causes of serious farm-related injuries or fatalities on Alberta farms.

“Entanglements can happen when machinery or equipment has the ability to pinch, crush, shear, wrap or pull a worker into the equipment,” says Blair Takahashi, farm safety specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “This includes anything that uses a PTO (power take off), pulleys, or belts and, in the fall, commonly comes in the form of augers, combines, or balers. Injuries from entanglements can be quite extensive and often include internal injuries, head and spinal cord damage, and complete loss of one or more limbs.”

When working around equipment, says Takahashi, there are measures you can take to prevent the risk of injuries due to entanglements. “It is important to identify machinery and equipment capable of creating entanglements and, prior to working with this equipment, making a plan to reduce the risks. Share the plan with all workers involved, and include the whole team in any safety-related conversations. Workers should be alert, trained, and capable of operating the equipment.”

Other things to consider to prevent entanglements:

• Guard or shield all moving parts.
• Disengage PTO, turn off engine and remove keys before dismounting self-propelled machinery.
• Turn off power before you repair, adjust or unplug machinery.
• Dress for the job. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing and keep long hair contained and out of the way.
• Walk around hazardous equipment– don’t climb, jump, or reach over a rotating auger or PTO shaft.
• Keep bystanders and children away from machinery.
• Communicate effectively when you work with another person.

“With fall harvest pushing everyone to perform at maximum, it’s important to plan ahead: identify hazards such as entanglements and put controls in place,” says Takahashi. “A simple control like disposal of worn and ragged clothing that, if worn, could accidentally get caught in a rotating belt or PTO may save an arm or even a life.”

For more information on farm safety best practices, go to

Blair Takahashi

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Caitlynn Reesor.
This information published to the web on October 5, 2017.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 12, 2017.