OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

June 28, 1983

Mr. James T. Hawkins
Vice President, Marketing Power
Transmission Products
Manufacturing Company
P.O. Box 12086
Florence Station
9410 North 4th Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68112

Dear Mr. Hawkins:

This is in response to your letter of June 1, 1983, in which you request an interpretation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirement for guarding power take-off (PTO) shafts on agricultural equipment.

The OSHA requirements for safeguarding PTO shafts used on agricultural equipment are delineated by 29 CFR 1928.57, Guarding of farm field equipment, farmstead equipment, and cotton gins, copy enclosed. OSHA booklet number 2256 provides additional clarifying information.

The purpose of the standard's requirements are emphasized in the first paragraph, 1928.57(a)(1): to provide for the protection of employees from hazardous exposures associated with moving machinery parts. PTO shafts in general are hazardous to employees, and the universal couplings at the journals are even greater hazards. Guarding of the PTO shafts and their journal ends is thus required under the OSHA regulations. The following portions of the regulations require such guarding:

1928.57(b)(1), (b)(2)(ii), for field equipment;

1928.57(c)(1), (c)(2)(ii), for farmstead equipment; and

1928.57(d)(1)(i), (vii), for cotton ginning equipment.

Whether or not cones are part of the shield, OSHA requires safeguarding of the journals. An integral configuration of the cone and shaft shield is a logical alternative for providing the required safeguarding. Integral cone or cup-shaped projections on the ends of the shaft shield which extend over the journals are considered a portion of the PTO shaft guard. This form of guarding meets the OSHA requirements for guarding the PTO shaft and its journals as depicted in Figure 5 of OSHA booklet number 2256.

If I can be of further assistance, please contact me.


Bruce Hillenbrand
Acting Director, Federal Compliance
and State Programs