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Farm laborer killed when he became entangled in an unguarded PTO shaft.

Michigan State University
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 02MI151, 2003 Sep; :1-8
On November 11, 2002, a 45-year old male farm worker was killed when he became entangled in an unguarded rotating power take off (PTO) shaft at the tractor connection. The mixer had undergone repair and its u-joint and PTO shaft were unguarded. The tractor PTO lever was located on the operator's right side while seated in the tractor. The mixer had a moveable scale that was attached to a stationary arm that could be moved to face either side of the mixer. The victim loaded the mixer with supplements and then had driven the tractor/mixer to the bunker silo area to add haylage to the supplements. He drove the tractor into the bunker area from a north to south direction instead of his usual approach, which is in a south to north direction. He had dismounted from the tractor and left the tractor running; it is unknown if the PTO was engaged or disengaged when he dismounted. He was working alone and the event was unwitnessed. His left hand/arm became entangled in the rotating PTO. His clothing was ripped off and his left arm severed at the shoulder. Another employee found the victim with his head by the driver side rear tractor wheel and his feet facing the mixer. This employee turned off the tractor and contacted another employee for help. The second employee ran to assist the victim; when the second employee determined there was nothing he could do, he called the farm owner to obtain the exact farm location address and then called 911 with this information. Emergency response arrived and the victim was declared dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. All rotating shafts, including PTO drivelines, should be covered by shields/guards in good condition to prevent worker contact with rotating parts. 2. Tractor operators should engage/disengage the PTO while seated in the tractor operator seat. 3. Loose or frayed clothing that can get caught in machinery should not be worn. 4. Employers should establish a safety plan that includes a farm emergency plan that identifies emergency responsibilities of individuals working on the farm, an emergency contact list, and farm location by the telephone.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Region-5; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Farmers; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-hazards; Tractors
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-02MI151; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division