(November 2006, UK) Your Urban Legend about the farm boy who lost his hat beneath the grain
harvester may not be true, but this one is. I am an injury lawyer, and for
many years I represented The National Farmers Union Mutual, an insurance
company specialising in (yep) farms. Farm workers do the most insane
things that never ceased to amaze me, but this one takes the biscuit.
I was investigating a fatal accident on a farm in Hampshire. The deceased,
an experienced hand, drove a sileage spreader hitched to a tractor.
Molasses was added to the spreader by parking it beneath beneath a molasses
tank and opening the tap. The sileage was mixed by three large steel
augers rotating in the belly of the open-topped spreader. The tractor was
then driven into the fields, and the feed mix merrily flung far and wide
from the spreader.
To access the molasses tap, one climbs a ladder fixed to the tank. The
subsequent inquest made it clear that our man, finding he had parked a mite
short and could not reach the tap, decided not to get down and move the
tractor five feet, but rather to teeter along the edge of the open spreader
hopper (a metal rim some three inches wide) wearing wellies covered in the
usual farm muck, so he could save himself twenty seconds of precious work
Needless to say, time being so dear, he did not bother to disengage the
PTO shaft of the tractor, which meant he was doing his balancing act above
three bloody great steel augers rotating below him. Pity the poor workmate
who eventually wondered why the tractor was sitting there for an hour
chugging gently away, put two and two together, and took a peep into the
"Going down on the farm."
"A sticky situation."
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Reference: Mike Clarke