By Jeff Holmes, Sullivan County Farm Bureau
(editor’s note: March 5-11 is Ag Safety Awareness Program Week. Each day of the week is focused on raising awareness of different, avoidable hazards on the farm. One of those hazards involves Equipment Operator Space. Using equipment on the farm helps get the job done more quickly and efficiently but can also present a number of hazards. In the article below, past NHFB President, Jeff Holmes, discusses how you can minimize risk by using PTO shields.)
Farming can be a dangerous business. Why not do what you can to help minimize the risks your operation presents? Missing or damaged PTO (power take-off) shields present a serious hazard for equipment operators. Not all hazards can be addressed cheaply but PTO shield issues are an exception.
Sullivan County Farm Bureau, in coordination with NYCAMH (New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health) of Cooperstown, NY is pleased to continue offering low-cost replacement Bare-Co shields that can make for a meaningful reduction in the risk posed to you or others that are around operating equipment. The actual danger presented by a damaged or missing shield is tough to picture or consider happening to you but injuries can be particularly gruesome or even fatal. According to information obtained through NYCAMH, PTO entanglements are a top 3 cause of fatal injuries on the farm. Don’t think you’re quick or strong enough to escape when a piece of clothing or body part gets caught on a rotating shaft. At operating speeds of 540 rpm, an arm or leg could be wrapped around a PTO shaft 9 times in one second. Amputations occur in 28-43% of entanglements and children are involved 21% of the time.
The good news is the risk of a PTO entanglement can be virtually eliminated through the use of a properly functioning shield. The cost of the Bare-Co shields vary from $59 to $80 depending on your particular application but well worth the piece of mind especially if you might have employees or children in the vicinity of equipment (get a price on a replacement shield from a dealer if you do not agree). The Bare-Co shields themselves come with a patented lever release feature that allows you to pull the bell end of a shield back away from the universal joint in just a few seconds without the need for tools. The exposed U-joint can then be serviced with much greater ease. Those that have experience working with equipment will attest that greasing certain U-joints is almost a two-person job. While SCFB is involved with this program for reasons of safety around the farm or home, the improved workability of these shields is significant. I can offer no greater testimonial to the ease of operation that these shields offer than to report that a farmer member in Hillsboro Co., after purchasing several of these shields in the past, recently purchased a new piece of equipment, promptly removed the factory-installed shield and ordered a Bare-Co shield to put in its place! Whatever your reason for needing a shield, we will gladly help you out.
With the assistance of Google functions and the far-reaching internet, we have sold shields to MN, IN, TX and OH among other larger “ag” states (Florida just this month). I’m sure there are hundreds of shields still in need of replacement in NH, but I have found it a tad amusing personally to fractionally influence the agricultural trade imbalance NH has by shipping shields south and west.
Please contact me and we can discuss how you can make your property or business a safer place.