Safety Search


The power-take-off, or PTO, is a means of transferring power from a tractor to an implement. The PTO can turn at either 540 revolutions per minute (RPM) or 1000 RPM. The irregular shape and connection joints of a turning shaft can cause serious injury. Due to this hazard, shields and guards were developed to prevent injury from these rotating shafts. The National Safety Council has estimated that PTO’s accounted for 6 percent of tractor related fatalities for 1997.

Missing Master Shield

No Shields

Which looks familiar?


Equipment Checks Personal Protection
Master shield should always be in place. Do not wear loose fitting clothing or articles that might get caught in a turning PTO shaft.
When master shield has to be removed for implement hookup, implement guarding needs to shield PTO shaft as well. Watch out for loose shoestrings, they can get caught as well.
Before using, always inspect shields and guards. Replace any damaged parts. Do not step over or lean over a turning PTO shaft.
Safety labels should be in place and visible. If performing maintenance on a piece of equipment, disengage the PTO shaft and turn the tractor off.
Drivelines should have guards and shields in place and should be in proper working condition.
Use proper hitching when attaching implement to PTO shaft to prevent binding. Proper length is also important to prevent PTO shaft from coming apart.

PTO Demonstration
PTO v/s "The Dummy" (mpeg)

PTO Safety Link (Clemson)
Using Guards and Shields 


This page is maintained by Charles Privette,
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
ABE Home Page
Page last updated March 01, 2002
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