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Validation of Self-Reported Power Take-Off Shielding Using On-Site Farm Audits

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 21(2): 95-104. (doi: 10.13031/jash.21.10724) @2015
Authors:   David B. Chapel, Julie A. Sorensen, Pamela J. Tinc, Todd Fiske, Sherry Wyckoff, Patrick W. Mellors, Paul Jenkins
Keywords:   Driveline shield, Farm injury, Farm inspection, Farm safety, Phone survey, Power take-off shield, PTO shield.

Abstract. Despite the substantial contribution of power take-off (PTO) entanglements to workplace morbidity and mortality among agricultural workers, the degree of proper PTO shielding on U.S. farms remains poorly characterized. Sampling from the New York data of the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), at least 200 each of dairy, livestock, crop, fruit, and vegetable farms were surveyed by phone to determine the extent of proper PTO shielding. In the same year, on-site audits were performed at 211 randomly selected New York livestock and dairy farms using a four-point scale to assess PTO shielding. Supplemental data were gathered on farm acreage, number of livestock, principal commodity, and operator experience. The phone survey data for livestock and dairy farms were then compared to the on-farm audit data. In the phone survey, 72.5% of farms reported having shields on all implements. The mean percentage of implements reported to be shielded was 90.2%. By on-farm audit, 10% of farms had all implements properly shielded, and the mean percentage of properly shielded implements was 56.7%, with shielding rates differing widely for different classes of implements. No significant predictors of PTO shielding were identified. The phone survey greatly overestimated proper PTO shielding rates when compared with the on-farm audits. These data suggest a lower level of proper shielding among farmers than is mandated by current industry safety standards. The results also identify a principal weakness of phone surveys in accurately assessing the true magnitude of on-farm risk for PTO entanglement.

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