A new tool to teach youth about PTO safety

  Safety Break Fall 2018
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This summer, the Alberta Farm Safety Program introduced a power take off (PTO) display. This resource will help farm safety event organizers to educate children and youth on the dangers of rotating PTO shafts.

“We are excited about this resource because it teaches children safety through a hands-on simulated entanglement scenario,” says Janice Donkers, farm safety youth coordinator for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “It has three educational components that provide an overview of the importance of safety around PTOs: an entanglement demonstration, a reaction time activity, and discussion points for conversations about potential risks and safety precautions.”

A PTO is a common device on the farm used to transfer power through a rotating shaft on a tractor to another implement such as an auger, baler, or mower. Contact with a PTO can cause serious injury or death because of the speed with which it rotates.

Donkers says, “With an average reaction time of less than a second, a person caught in a PTO spinning at 1000 RPM would be wrapped around the shaft six times before they knew what was happening.”

Donkers encourages farmers implement the following safety strategies:
  • Wear close fitting clothes, remove draw strings from sweatshirts and jackets, and tie up long hair. These items can easily become entangled in a rotating PTO shaft.
  • Make sure all guards and shields are securely in place and in good working condition at all times.
  • Keep young children a safe distance away from a spinning PTO. Designate a safe play area with structured boundaries (i.e. fence) to eliminate risks.
  • Ensure workers engage and disengage the PTO from the tractor seat only. (Do not reach up to engage the PTO while standing behind or beside the tractor.)
  • Under no circumstances should anyone step over a PTO. Always walk around.
  • Anyone operating a PTO should receive proper training. A training activity provides information and instruction to improve performance or help achieve a certain level of skill and knowledge to safely operate a PTO.

The PTO Display is one of many educational resources, displays and publications available free of charge from the Alberta Farm Safety Program. Please email farm.safety@gov.ab.ca for more information.
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This information published to the web on October 16, 2018.