Don't get wrapped up in your PTO
When it comes to safety issues, PTO shafts can be deadly. Power take-off shafts can be the cause of serious injury if proper safety precautions are not taken, or if they are not maintained. The National Ag Safety Database claims that PTO shafts are one of the most hazardous areas of a tractor. Without proper shield and constant awareness by the operator, the spinning PTO shaft can quickly grab and entangle an unsuspecting bystander.
Grease, grease, grease! Probably one of the most inexpensive maintenance items. Drive shafts outfitted with zerk fittings in the universal joints must be cleaned and filled with grease routinely.
Visual inspections of the shaft, universal joint and guards are a must. Any signs of excessive wear or damage must be repaired or replaced immediately.
Inspect any protection devices for cracks, excessive rust and make sure all tie down cables or chains are properly attached and are not broken.
Never, under any circumstance, modify the drive shaft shields.
Turn the tractor off! This should go without saying, but all too often we get in too much of a hurry and try to check items like the PTO after starting the tractor. The truth is turning off the tractor takes less than one second, and that decision could turn out being one that saves your life.
Never step over a rotating PTO. Even if the proper shields are in place any loose piece of clothing could get caught and pulled in or you risk the chance of tripping or losing your balance. Always walk around the PTO.
Just a little extra time and precaution could mean the difference between a properly running machine and even life or death. If you have inexperienced employees that will be working around PTO shafts, it could be worth the time to go over proper training and safety tips.
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