Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island

Inspect PTO Guards during Agricultural Safety Week

March 09, 2018

March 11-17, 2018 is Canadian Agricultural Safety Week and a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of safety matters on farm workplaces.  The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) would like to remind farmers that this week is an ideal time to inspect Power Take Off (PTO) drive equipment to ensure that guards are in place and working properly.


The impact of a farm accident can be devastating and one of the leading causes of farm fatalities and injuries is equipment entanglement. According to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, from 2003 to 2012, 61 deaths on Canadian farms were caused by entanglement.  Exposed bolts, universal joints, burrs or other projections on rotating components can grab clothing, resulting in instant entanglement.


It is extremely important to take time to ensure that PTO guards are in place and working before the farming season is at its peak.  To support this farm initiative, many Island farm equipment dealers are offering a 20% discount off the purchase of a new PTO guard during Agricultural Safety Week.


“As an Island farmer for close to 40 years, I can personally attest that properly maintained farm equipment can prevent injuries and save lives,” said Stuart Affleck, Workers Compensation Board Chair. “The WCB encourages farmers to inspect their PTO guards and to replace them if required.”


The Workers Compensation Board has a number of safety resources for farm employers and workers available at, including a PTO hazard alert. The hazard alert lists a number of precautions that should be taken to prevent accidents related to entanglement, including:


  • Ensuring that the PTO is properly maintained and that PTO drivelines are fully shielded.
  • Regularly checking all components of the PTO guarding system for nicks or damage.
  • Ensuring that all sections of the PTO driveline, including universal joints are fully shielded. PTO guards should include a tractor shield, a shaft shield and an implement shield.
  • Replacing or repairing damaged shields, bearings and safety devices before the equipment is used.
  • Ensuring that PTO driven equipment is maintained and guarded according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Never operating equipment with damaged or missing PTO guards.
  • Staying well clear of rotating PTO drivelines.


For additional information about farm safety matters, contact WCB Farm Safety Specialist, Tara Huestis, at 902-368-6562 or 1-800-237-5049.


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