Tobacco Farm Worker Safety

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The North Carolina Agriculture Safety and Health Bureau, the Farm Labor Practices Group, NC State University and industry stakeholders have collaborated to produce safety training videos addressing agricultural safety and health hazards faced by tobacco farm workers. These include heat illness and struck-by hazards from farm equipment.

Tobacco is a labor-intensive crop with many situations that may expose workers to potential hazards.

These hazards include ones common to other farming operations such as tractors and machinery, pesticides, and laboring in hot weather.

Green tobacco sickness or GTS is a potential hazard specific to working in tobacco. The condition results from the absorption of nicotine through the skin which is most likely to occur when the tobacco is wet. Nicotine levels in the plant are naturally highest during harvest season, less so at topping, and much less earlier in the season; thus potential exposure is greatest during the harvest season.

The videos also offer guidance on applicable labor laws and regulations and improving farm labor practices on tobacco farms.