Exposure to vibrations in wine growing
AbstractApart the winter period, the activity in specialized agricultural cultivations (i.e. wine- and fruit-growing) is distributed for a long period of the year. Some tasks, such as pesticide distribution, are repeated several times during the growing season. On the other hand, mechanization is one of the pillars on which is based the modern agriculture management. As a consequence, in wine growing the tractor driver has to be considered a worker potentially subjected to high level of vibrations, due to the poor machinery conditions often encountered, and sometimes to the rough soil surface of the vineyard combined with the high travelling speed adopted in carrying out many operations. About vibrations, the Italian Decree 81/08 basically refers to the European Directive 2002/44/CE, that provides some very strict limits of exposure, both for whole body and hand-arm districts. In Oltrepo pavese, a large hilly area located the south part of the Pavia province (Lombardy - Italy) wine growing is the main agricultural activity; for this reason, a detailed survey on the vibration levels recorded at the tractor driver’s seat was carried out, in order to ascertain the real risk to which the operators are exposed. The activity in wine growing has been classified into 6 groups of similar tasks, as follows: 1. canopy management: pruning, trimming, binding, stripping, etc.; 2. soil management: harrowing, hoeing, subsoiling etc.; 3. inter-row management: chopping of pruning , pinching, grass mowing, etc.; 4. crop protection: pesticides and fungicides distribution, sulfidation, foliar fertilization, etc.; 5. grape harvesting: manual or mechanical; 6. transport: from the vineyard to the cellar. For each group of tasks, the vibration levels on 3 the traditional axes (x, y and z) were recorded, and then an exposure time was calculated for each of them, in order to ascertain the risk level in comparison to what provided by the dedicated standard. Finally, a detailed study was conducted on the most dangerous working conditions, with the goal to offer solutions able to reduce the overall exposure, as improving the comfort level, as to shorten the working time when possible and/or to provide suitable periods of rest.
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