Ben Cantrick (mackys) wrote,
Ben Cantrick

Ye old driveline disco.

So, to try and partially pay back my mom for putting a roof over my head, I've been helping her fiancee build fences around the soon-to-be llama ranch. We were VERY lucky to be able to borrow a farm tractor with an auger on the back to dig the holes for the posts, more or less like this one:

I can't tell you how much faster and easier fence building is with this thing. Especially because we're using 8' lengths of old telephone pole for about every third post. Digging the holes for those things by hand would be a time-sucking, body destroying nightmare.

The auger is powered by a PTO ("power take-off") shaft attached to the tractor's engine. The shaft has some amusing safety stickers on it, some of which I've reproduced here:

My favorite one is the guy wrapped around the shaft - "the driveline disco" as I call it. ;] The other one reminds me of an old sniper's saying: "You can run, but then you'll just die tired!"

The power take-off (PTO) shaft is a drive shaft that delivers power from the tractor to another machine. The tractor's PTO output shaft is located at the rear of the tractor, just above the drawbar. Some tractors also have a front PTO located under the transmission of the tractor. Power is transferred to the implement through a
telescoping shaft with universal joints at both ends. The end nearest the implement usually has a shear pin and/or slip clutch to prevent drive line damage from overload conditions.

PTO entanglements occur when a person gets too close to the rotating shaft and clothing, hair or something else wraps around the shaft. Safe operating practices dictate that no one should be in close proximity to the PTO shaft while it is
in operation. There are some machines that do require the operator to be in the general vicinity of the PTO shaft, but none require the operator to be very close to the shaft.

Injuries from a PTO entanglement are usually fatal or involve amputations, severe lacerations and/or multiple fractures. Neck and spine injuries are common in PTO entanglements. Occasionally, the victim may have a limb torn from the body by the shaft. The victim may actually become wrapped around the shaft. Another possibility might involve clothing being wrapped so tightly on the shaft that the victim may experience difficulty breathing or blood circulation may be restricted. There have been cases of persons being scalped when their hair became entangled in the PTO shaft.

In some cases the shaft can be manually reversed to remove the patient from the shaft. Some cases will involve such complex injuries that the best choice may be to transport the patient and the shaft together to the emergency room
(!!) where awaiting physicians can separate the patient from the shaft.

Apparently, there are also some rural counties that give "PTO Safety Demonstrations" at the county fair. A straw man is thrown onto a full-speed PTO shaft. ( ensues:(

"PTO Safety Demonstrations. 15-20 min. This fast paced program never fails to get the crowd’s attention. Great for county fairs, safety days, FFA Field Days etc. Includes an introduction and the actual demonstration. The county Farm Bureau is responsible for providing the tractor, implement, and 1 "dummy" per demonstration."

More amusing PTO safety info here.
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