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PTO Safety

Keep Your Guard Up

Power take-off (PTO) entanglements are among the top three causes of farm deaths. Survivors often suffer severe and disabling injuries, such as amputations. Installing and maintaining PTO shields helps to prevent entanglements. However, in a Northeast Center study on New York farms, almost half of over 1,500 driveline implements lacked proper shielding.

of PTO entanglement victims are children
of entanglements result in amputations

A PTO can wrap your arm or leg
around the PTO shaft

in 1 second at 540 rpm
in 1 second at 1000 rpm

Seeing is Believing: A shield that’s affordable & easy to install

Northeast Center researchers evaluated a recent PTO shielding campaign that was found to be unsuccessful at influencing farmers to replace missing or broken PTO shields. What has been working are face-to-face interactions between farmers and our farm safety staff about the risks of missing or broken shields, the farms’ individual PTO shield needs and affordable options our Center offers for replacements. In 2020, for instance, the Center distributed almost 200 replacement PTO shields to farms.

Go to Safety Gear for details on the Bare-Co PTO shield sizes and replacement parts.

Don’t just take our word for it,
here’s what farmers had to say.

How to install the Bare-Co PTO shield in less than 10 Minutes

PTO entanglements can be caused by:

getting too close

slipping/coming into contact with shaft


stepping or reaching over operating PTO

missing or damaged shields

Top 10 PTO Safety Rules

Always keep shields in place

Wear close-fitting clothing.

Tie long hair up, or tuck under a hat

Stop engine and wait for the PTO driveline to stop completely before making adjustments, servicing or disconnecting PTO driven equipment

If a PTO is operating while the tractor is stationary, be sure tractor is in neutral or park and parking brake is set

Never allow children to get near PTO units

Lubricate to keep rotating shields turning freely

Check PTO shield before each use to ensure that it is working properly

Replace shields after making repairs or servicing or if broken

Repair or replace defective PTO parts immediately


Tinc, P.J., M.M. Goodspeed, and J.A. Sorensen, Understanding trends in PTO shielding using Kelman’s processes of change. J Agromed, 2020: p. 1-6.
Tinc, P.J. and J.A. Sorensen, Marketing Farm Safety: Using Principles of Influence to Increase PTO Shielding. J Agromedicine, 2019. 24(1): p. 101-109.
Sorensen, J. A., Tinc, P. J., Dalton, D., Scott, E. E., & Jenkins, P. L.  A Comparison of Interventional Approaches for Increasing Power Take-off Shielding on New York Farms. J Agromedicine, 2017. 22(3): p. 251-258.
Murphy, D.J., ,. Power Take-Off (PTO) Safety. 2016; Available from:
Chapel, D., Sorensen, J., Tinc, P., Fiske, T., Wyckoff, S., Mellors, P., & Jenkins, P. Validation of self-reported power take-off shielding using on-site farm audits. J Agric Saf Health, 2015. 21(2): p. 95-104.
Tinc, P., Madden E, Park S, Weil R, & Sorensen, J.  Concept identification for a power take-off shielding campaign. J Agromedicine, 2015. 20(1): p. 55-63.
Weil, R., Mellors, P., Fiske, T., & Sorensen, J. A.,A qualitative analysis of power take-off driveline shields: barriers and motivators to shield use for New York State farmers. J Agric Saf Health, 2014. 20(1): p. 51-61.