Growing Safely - PTO Safety

What is power takeoff (PTO)? The PTO provides a means of transmitting power between a tractor and another piece of farm machinery. Some examples of PTO-driven equipment are hay balers, rotary cutters, weed mowers, forage blowers and irrigation pumps. This handout provides information to prevent PTO accidents.


  • hay balerPTOs are dangerous because the shafts rotate at a high speed.
  • Most PTO accidents occur when people get too close to a rotating shaft.
  • Guarding for PTO drivelines helps prevent PTO entanglement. Safety Devices Help
  • PTO shields cover the shaft to help prevent you from becoming entangled.
  • Check to see if the equipment you are using has shields over all parts of the PTO shaft.
  • Don’t assume a guard or shield will automatically prevent an accident. Shields may be missing, damaged or cover only part of the PTO driveline.
  • Immediately report any problems to your supervisor and do not operate the machinery without proper guarding in place. *


  1. When you finish your task, turn off the PTO before getting off the tractor. Stop the tractor and take the key.
  2. Don’t go near the PTO driveline until all parts have stopped rotating.
  3. Don’t check, adjust, unplug or grease any PTO- powered equipment while the PTO shaft is rotating.
  4. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on how to hook up an implement to the PTO. Make sure no one is on the tractor or near the equipment while you are hooking it up.
  5. If a PTO is operating while the tractor is stationary, be sure the tractor is in neutral or park and the parking brake is on.
  6. Don’t wear loose clothing around a PTO. If you have long hair, put it up or tuck it under a hat before operating the machinery.
  7. Every time you hook up an implement to your tractor’s PTO, check to make sure the shields are in place and are properly functioning.
  8. If someone is working alone with PTO-powered machinery, occasionally check on the person.

Source: Gempler’s Tailgate Training Tip Sheet

You can also check out the Growing Safely PTO Safety video on the Monsanto Off-the-Job Safety YouTube Channel or watch the embedded video below.

The Growing Safely video series is sponsored by Monsanto Company. Monsanto is committed to the safety of its customers, employees, and those in the communities where we live and work.

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Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More