Safe Measures Around the Post-Hole Digger = More Fence Built This Spring

Richard Purdin, ANR/CD Educator Adams County

A common tool used on the farm is a tractor mounted post-hole auger/digger. A tractor mounted post-hole digger can reduce time and labor when building large stretches of fence. There are two types of tractor mounted post-hole diggers available on the market, power take off (PTO) operated and hydraulic flow operated. It is important to use caution and follow safety steps to avoid injury or fatality when working with equipment with moving parts or a power take off (PTO) or hydraulic system.

Prevention Measures

  • Read the operator’s manual for proper operating procedures before using the equipment.
  • Maintain safety shields and labels.
  • Use equipment only if all safety shields are in place.


Inspect and Maintain Equipment Properly

  • Make sure cutting blade is sharp.
  • Ensure all shields are tightly attached.
  • Check for fluid leaks.
  • Inspect hydraulic hoses for cracks and weathering.
  • Use shear bolts provided by the manufacture only.
  • Grease frequently and check wear spots and shear bolts.


Safe Operation Steps

  • Call 811 to locate buried utilities before digging.
  • Clear obstructions such as rocks and tree branches from the work site.
  • Allow only one operator on the equipment.
  • Disengage and turn off the tractor before dismounting to make repairs or adjustments.
  • Engage the PTO at low RPM speeds.
  • Consult the operator's manual for proper horsepower and rpm during operation.
  • Make sure the tractor used for the task is properly weighted when working on slopes or rocky terrane.


For more information and safety steps you can go to

Richard Purdin, ANR/CD Educator Adams County, can be reached at 937-544 2339 or This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team.