My thoughts in this area were prompted by a tweet which crossed my path about safety chains on a PTO Shaft cover. When I was young(er) I recall bare PTO connections, no roll bars on tractors, open silage pits and plenty of other hazards on the farm which, thankfully in mine and my family’s case, did not cause any injuries.  Over the coming weeks, I hope to contribute some more food for thought on safety, identify some suitable products and will try to avoid preaching.   Many thanks to Pat White for his contribution and help in putting this blog information together.


PTO Chain PTO Chain in use

How the world has moved on, and while some general developments and changes are questionable, there is no doubt that awareness of health and safety issues (seat belts, motorbike helmets, computer screens, ergonomics), on the farm and in the industry in general has increased for the better….. And then this morning, I saw a report about an unfortunate farmer who suffered a very severe injury because he was wearing a ring! (enough said).


I can now see PTO Shaft Covers complete with chains and other safety features in our stockroom. Older model machinery does not have the full range of safety features – the PTO shaft and guard seemed to catch my attention, hence some accompanying photographs. Reminders there as well - all the safety equipment in the world is no use if not used correctly.


There are multiple publications, documents, internet articles, television advertisements and so on relating to Farm Safety. There are numerous categorisations of farm-related subject matters and related documents. The Health and Safety Authority have prepared and make available publications relating to our Agriculture and Forestry Industry. Their website is well structured and intuitive to allow users/visitors to find and access documents quickly and easily. It is really well worth while visiting and exploring information on that site.


Documents range from Risk Assessment up to and including Safety Guidelines for farm working, animal management and general care around the farm. There are thorough outlines of where care and attention will be needed. The portfolio of documents serve as a reminder of what safety measures are needed on the farm. Top level items include:

  • Vehicles
  • Machinery
  • Falls & Collapses
  • Fatigue
  • Farmer Health
  • Fire Electricity & Chemicals
  • Manual Handling
  • Slurry
  • Timber Work
  • Water
  • Children
  • Farmers over 65 years


Of course, within these top levels, there is another block of related areas which have safety implications and which are also well documented.


Beware, all the documentation in the world will not resolve safety concerns or will not alleviate safety concerns. Documents, advertising, tutorials and so on will help to point out issues but the resolution will come down to our own good practices and, possibly, modification to practices we have undertaken and been undertaking for years.


At Atkins we stock full ranges of safety equipment, footwear, protective and hi-viz clothing. Among other products, we have a pair of PTO Guard chains for €7.95, surely worth an investment for a significant safety measure.

PTO Guard Chain Close Up PTO Guard Chain Close Up


Sources for various information and products:


The IFA, Teagasc and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine also have all comprehensive sections on their websites relating to farm safety. These are also worth looking at and are portals to the HSA site:


Just a final thought – the first PTO Guard and Chain photograph which I showed above – with a slightly closer view

Joe Doherty/Pat White, March 2019