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Tractor PTO Safety Tips and Strategies

We want to help you practice tractor PTO safety.

If you do not feel that you understand these steps, or can perform them safely, consult your tractor dealer or local mechanic. Also always consult your tractor owner’s manual for model-specific information.

Let’s get started.


For those of you that are newer to operating a tractor, we wanted to provide a quick definition of a “PTO.”

“Power Take Off,” also referred to as “PTO” is the tractor's stub shaft.

The shaft transfers power from the tractor to the PTO-driven implements. It rotates in proportion to the speed of the engine. A PTO can be “Live,” “Not Live,” “Economy,” “Reverse,” and “Independent.”

There are also various types. That is beyond the scope of this safety-centric article.

For more on the types of PTOs click here.


One of the most dangerous tractor power transfer devices is the PTO.

To lower the risk of an injury --- maintain proper machine guards.

A PTO stub rotates at either 540 revolutions per minute (rpm) or 1,000 rpm. You are protected from the rotating stub by the PTO master shield and from the rotating shaft by the PTO integral shield.

Report a missing or damaged PTO shield to your supervisor and do not operate the tractor until the shield has been replaced or repaired. If you own the tractor, see your local mechanic for service details.

PTO Safety

There are many PTO safety practices that can help prevent the most common entanglements.

Here they are:

  • Never step over a rotating PTO shaft.

  • Make sure the PTO speed matches the implement’s recommended speed.

  • Never wear loose-fitting clothing near a rotating PTO.

  • Make sure shoelaces are tied and secure any long hair.

  • Follow safe shutdown procedures and wait for all the moving parts to stop. Do this before you dismount the tractor.

  • Keep all the parts of the PTO system shielded and guarded.

  • Periodically check the driveline guards by spinning or rotating them to make sure they haven’t become stuck to the shaft. NOTE: This should only be done with the engine off.

Hopefully, this short article helped you better understand how to be safer while operating your tractor PTO.

If you need any further help or have any questions about safety, tractors, or anything else, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.

Team Tractor Ranch - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.

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