Cecchini, M.; Monarca, D.; Colantoni, A.; Cavariani, F.; Bedini, L.; De Rossi, M.; Pagano, M.; Fedrizzi, M.; Guerrieri, M.
|Abstract in English:|
One of the main risk factors for workers derived by mechanized harvesting of hazelnuts is
the exposure to respirable dust (Biondi et al., 1992; Monarca et al., 2005).
The aim of this paper is to test a device to be applied directly on the harvesters, that
manages to give the soil suitable moisture, reducing the dust development.
The device is based on the use of sprayers, already experienced in agriculture for irrigation
and pesticide treatments. It exploits the principle of pneumatic nebulisation at low volume.
The dust control is also achieved through appropriate devices, positioned along the exhaust
pipes of the powder: water, delivered through nozzles to low volume sprayers, which
intercepts the flow of dust, leaves and twigs, before they're released outside.
A first evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed device was performed by measuring,
with appropriate instrumentation, the concentration of dust that affects the operator and
persists in the environment.
The number of tests does not allow a statistical treatment of data. Because of the very high
number of variables involved (e.g. air speed and direction, soil moisture, planting distance
etc.), the implementation of assessment protocols - that can provide statistically acceptable
regressions between, for instance, hydraulic flow/number of nozzles mounted on the
machine and dust concentration - doesn't seem to be reasonable.
The first tests show a decrease of dust concentration in case of sprinklers mounted in front of
harvesting apparatus of the machine (the area where dust is generated).
Key words: Dust, Hazelnut harvester, Health, Prevention.