Use of PTO Shafts
A Power Take-Off (PTO) is a splined driveshaft, usually on a tractor or truck, which can be used to provide power to an attachment or separate machine.
It is designed to be easily connected and disconnected. The PTO allows external equipment to draw energy from the vehicle’s engine to power it.
Connection to the power take-off is either a direct coupling or via a PTO shaft. Both the PTO and any connection device can be very dangerous as the full power or torque of the engine can be transmitted through them.
Every year people are killed or seriously injured in accidents involving PTOs.
The most common type of accident is where loose clothing or other items are caught in the revolving machinery, dragging the individual into the machinery causing at best serious injury, loss of limbs or at worst death.
Due to the speed of rotation of the PTO and take-off shaft, individuals who get caught have very little time to react to avoid being injured. Even when clothing is caught and ripped off, the cloth can remove copious amounts of flesh and muscle before parting.
To prevent injury, the PTO and shaft should be guarded to prevent entanglement with any clothing materials and individuals.
The guard needs to be:
- In a good state of repair;
- Suitably sized for the drive shaft being used;
- Properly fixed to the equipment to prevent it rotating with the shaft.
The PTO should also be guarded when not in use.
Essential safety points when using PTO shafts:
- Ensure the shaft is the right size for the machine.
- Keep a safe distance from it when in use, suggested twice a person’s height.
- Keep other people, not involved with the task, away from the work area.
If a problem occurs then:
- Stop the machine.
- Take the PTO out of gear.
- Stop the engine.
- Set the handbrake.
- Remove the keys.
- Ensure someone keeps the keys with them until the problem has been fixed, the guards are back in place and persons are clear of the machinery.
The main requirements in relation to managing PTO shafts are:
- Completion of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
- Providing suitable information, instruction and training.
- A Safe Stop system in place.
- Staff are aware of the hazards of being drawn in and dress appropriately for the tasks being carried out.
- Maintenance of PTO shafts to ensure the equipment is in safe working order.
- Routine inspection of equipment and guards prior to PTOs being used.
Questions to Consider
- Is there a list of competent persons who carry out routine inspection on PTO shafts?
- Are all guards suitably in place to prevent injury?
- Are CoSHH assessments in place for any hazardous substances that may be use in maintenance of PTOs?
- Has the insurance company been informed of the use of PTO shafts?
- Is the PTOs power supply disengaged first prior to any maintenance or repair work being carried out?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.