Unguarded Power Take Off (PTO) shaft on a potato digger
An active partner in a farming business was prosecuted for the way he was operating a semi-mounted digger behind his tractor to lift potatoes in his field. The PTO shaft powering the digger was completely unguarded as was the rear belt and pulley drive.
The partner was prosecuted under regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for operating an unguarded machine. Farmer entered a guilty plea and was fined £2,000 together with £1,068 towards the prosecution costs.
Unguarded or inadequately guarded PTO shafts are a source of numerous serious accidents to adults (and children) on farms. All PTO shafts must be fully guarded to prevent any contact with the rotating parts.
Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) equipment for use should be adequately guarded BEFORE being used.