WALNUT HARVESTING | Experts suggest safety tips for people to avoid fatal falls

Locally called 'Dooyn', the trade of walnuts contributes considerably to the Kashmir's economy.
Locally called 'Dooyn', the trade of walnuts contributes considerably to the Kashmir's economy. Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: With the walnut harvesting season in full swing, accidental deaths due to fall from walnut trees in the recent past have raised a major safety concern for the people.

The harvesting season of walnut, a major horticulture produce of Kashmir valley commences in late August and continues through the month of September.

Amid the rising number of accidental deaths in the past due to the fall from walnut trees, experts have asked people to take safety measures to avoid any such tragic incidents in future.

Every year several persons lost their lives while many have received injuries due to falling from walnut trees in different areas of north, south and central Kashmir during harvesting.

Experts believe that it is due to the crude traditional methods applied in the walnut harvesting that many people fell resulting in death or injuries while harvesting the produce from the trees.

They said that if the farmers were educated and more scientific methods based on common sense would be used, many lives could be saved.

Notably, last year amid increasing tree accidents, Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Department had issued an advisory with dos and don’ts to avoid casualties during the ongoing walnut harvesting season in Kashmir.

Experts said that it was becoming an occupational hazard for the traditional walnut farmers.

“If precautions are not taken, falling from height can cause serious spinal injuries,” they said. “General public, particularly the walnut farmers are requested to kindly adhere to the safety measures to avoid any further such accidental deaths."

“Only experienced and trained persons should climb the walnut trees during harvest. Use helmet and tie a safety harnesses rope, properly anchored, to break the fall." the advisory had said.

The farmers are advised to wear non-slip boots and to check weather forecast by IMD before planning for the harvest.

The advisory asked people not use long metal poles to harvest the trees, as accidental contact with electric lines could result in electrocution, serious injury or death.

"Remove logs, stones, boulders around the base of the trees to reduce risk. Use safety nets or thick stacks of hay, around the tree, to prevent injury in case of accidental fall. Ensure a stable and firm position before beating the walnuts,” the advisory stated.

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