Mining plays an important role in Brazilian exports. On the other hand, large urban centers like São Paulo, with approximately 21 million inhabitants, also demand an increasing domestic consumption of natural resources, such as construction aggregate. There are many quarries located in the surroundings of urban centers in Brazil, competing with the growth of urbanized areas. Such proximity leads to a series of conflicts involving quarries and surrounding communities, where the increase in noise levels is highlighted. Operations in quarries, in general, are intermittent. Noisier equipment, such as drilling rigs and primary crushers, operates only a few hours during the day, while other operations, such as screening and secondary and tertiary crushing, are more constant. This paper presents a study carried out in a quarry located near São Paulo, where in addition to conventional short term noise measurements at surrounding receptors, one noise monitoring station was installed, allowing to identify the noisiest moments during the quarry operating time. Through data transmitted by wireless technology, it was possible to follow the noise variations emitted from mining activities in real time and observe the noisiest events that were recorded for events that exceeded the established standards. A mobile application associated to this monitoring station facilitated the quarry's manager and employees to access immediately the monitoring information. Therefore, by using this system, it was possible to evaluate the effectiveness of noise reduction measures already taken and indicate what steps still need to be held.
Radon is a chemically inert noble radioactive gas found in several radioactive decay chains. In underground mines, especially those that contain or have contained ores associated with uranium-bearing minerals, workers might be exposed to high levels of radon and its decay products (RDP). This work aims to investigate whether the exposure of workers to radon gas and its progeny has been evaluated in Brazilian non-uranium and non-thorium underground mines. Any such results and control measures undertaken or recommended to maintain concentrations under Brazilian occupational exposure limits (OELs) are documented. The methodology we adopted consists of three main phases. The first was an extensive bibliographical survey of the concentration levels of radon and RDP, as well as the radiation dose estimates, considering measurements made heretofore by various Brazilian researchers and exhibiting original measurement work undertaken by the one of the authors (mine O). In the second phase, the values obtained were compared with OELs. In the third phase, any control measures undertaken in mines with high exposure of workers to radon and its progeny were verified, and the adopted controls were determined. Radon concentration data obtained from 52 campaigns in 40 underground mines were analyzed. The results show that assessment of the exposure of workers to radon and its progeny was undertaken in many mines at least once, and that radon levels in 62.5% of the mines, when visited for the first time, were below the Brazilian OELs. As expected, the main control measure adopted or recommended was improvement of the ventilation system.
In the typical activities of quarries, it is common for the employees to be exposed to diverse risk factors, pertaining to their health or physical integrity. This kind of exposition, in Brazil, entitles these employees to additional payments, defined in law from different technical parameters. The controversies concerning the payment of these premiums between the employers and the employees, like the other conflicts between capital and labor, are solved in Brazil by the Labor Courts, and the forensic expert survey is one of the main tools used by the judges. This study aimed to characterize the unhealthy or hazardous situations in quarries using the forensic expert survey, focusing on the concepts and the legal definitions of the unhealthy or hazardous situations in labor activities, as well as the main aspects of the expert evidence technique and the judicial proceeding. This analysis revealed that most of the functions in quarries mean exposure to hazards, requiring appropriate management
The present study aims to relate clays’ technical aspects to the traditional popular ceramics manufacture carried out for generations by the Association of Artisans of Apiaí artisans in Vale do Ribeira (Brazil). The Vale do Ribeira is considered a cultural and natural World Heritage site by UNESCO. The clays’ chemical-mineralogical, technological, and ceramic properties were important in defining the aesthetic characteristics of artistic work and in selecting of a specific execution method. The methodology comprises extensive bibliographic research; field visits for data and clay samples collection to survey their characteristics in the laboratory, and the comparison of results. Adequacy between experimentation and technical knowledge was proven. This study is also expected to help disseminate and enhance Apiaí’s artistic, cultural, and historical heritage and encourage the development of public policies for cultural preservation in Vale do Ribeira.
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