Evaluation of the vibrations transmitted to the hand-arm system in the use of portable olives harvesters

Mariangela Vallone


The use of portable harvesters in olives harvesting is becoming increasingly, especially in Sicily, south Italy, both to reduce the costs of production and to assure the olive oil quality. Nevertheless, it’s well known that the use of such tools may involve risk of exposure to hand-transmitted vibration that is a potential cause of muscular/skeletal pains in hand–arm system, and specific pathologies such as Hand–Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), Vibration-Induced White Finger (VWF) and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). The aim of this study was to assess the level of exposure to hand-arm vibration of the operators during the use of portable shakers for olives harvesting. Two different commonly used types of tools were evaluated performing both laboratory and field tests. One was a hook type harvester provided with an internal combustion engine; the other an electric portable shaker consisting of a bar ending with a comb, equipped with an electric motor. Accelerations were measured by using the portable vibrometer HD2070 (Delta OHM, Italy). The daily action value established by the European Directive 2002/44/EC was always considerably exceeded by the two harvesters for both hands both in the laboratory and in the field tests; however, the electric comb showed A(8) values about halved respect to the hook type.

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