June can be a dangerous time on the farm. For instance, a man was killed last week in a tractor rollover accident in Illinois and a 13-year-old boy was killed by lightning while helping his father bale hay in Pennsylvania.
“June usually sees a big jump in overall farm accidents,” says Dennis Murphy, farm safety specialist at Penn State University. “And, kids are a big part of that.”
Certainly, with school out for summer, there are more children playing outside and helping their parents with chores on the farm, Murphy points out.
There’s simply more exposure to accidents in June, not only because there are more children around, but because:
- Weather delays in May often put farmers in a position of having to catch up in June.
- The hay harvest has begun.
- The days are longer, and the additional sunlight gives farmers more time to get their work done outdoors.
Murphy advises people to be aware of the potential dangers.
“Just take your time” to do things safely, he adds.
Bill Field, extension farm safety specialist at Purdue University, says one problem that has come up this June are water-logged fields where tractors can get stuck. "To me, that's an issue -- the use of tow ropes and straps and chains and the amount of effort it is taking" to pull the tractors out of the mud, he says. And, if the straps or cables break, they can be just like rubber bands and snap back at a person, he adds.
Although June has its own special challenges, Field says there are two peak times for farm accidents in Indiana -- planting and harvesting, which would include late April through May and then September through October.