Progressive Agriculture Foundation shares the dangers PTOs present and the tips to reduce PTO-related injury and death among children.

Safety Day logo Power take-off devices (PTOs), though incredibly useful on farms and ranches, can be extremely dangerous to people, rotating at 540 to 1,000 revolutions per minute (RPM), or nine to 16 revolutions per second. These energy-transferring machines that generally work to move energy from a tractor to a smaller device such as a grain auger, hay baler or pump can present extremely hazardous situations to humans, especially children.

One of the most common injuries that occurs with PTOs is PTO entanglement. Due to the rapid rotation, people often get caught by the fast-moving PTO shaft and injured before they have time to react to the situation.

"The demonstrations we often do during Safety Days show what happens to a straw-filled dummy when it comes into contact with a rotating PTO shaft. This is a great opportunity for kids to really see firsthand just what these machines are capable of. If even one life is saved from these dangerous devices, our work is well worth it," says Bernard Geschke, program specialist with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation® (PAF), an organization that helps rural communities provide safety and health education to children ages 8 to 13.

As a parent, there are several things you can teach your child to reduce the likelihood of a PTO-related injury or death. Educate your children on the importance of doing the following:

1. Always remove the keys to the engine before leaving the tractor seat to make sure the PTO will not accidently start running.
2. Make sure all equipment safety shields and guards are in place and properly working before working near a PTO device.
3. Wear tight-fitting clothes and keep hair out of the way. A baggy sleeve or hair can easily get caught in a PTO device.
4. Never step over a PTO device even when it is shut off. Stepping or reaching across a PTO can lead to entanglement.
5. Children should stay away from PTOs that are operating, and children under 18 should never operate a PTO device.

Safety tips such as these are examples of the things children learn when they attend Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, which are held each year in approximately 400 local communities throughout North America.

Safety Days are fun, hands-on, one-day events that provide children with education and training that can keep them and those around them safer and healthier on a farm or ranch, and at home. The program explores more than 30 topics, including ATVs, firearms, water/outdoor safety and knife safety. PAF provides the curriculum, coordinator training, take-home bags, T-shirts and other resources to help make the Safety Days a reality. PAF is committed to providing farm and ranch safety and health education to children across rural America in an effort to reduce farm- or ranch-related injuries and death.

The Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program is the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America and a program of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. The Foundation's mission is to provide education and training to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities. In 2008, PAF was awarded the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance National Charity Seal, demonstrating its commitment to accountability and ethical practices. Safety Day applications are due each July 15 for Safety Days that will be conducted the following calendar year.