Federal agencies Immigrants Agriculture, forestry and fishing Workplace exposures

Worker safety bulletin aimed at preventing ‘Green Tobacco Sickness’

Washington – OSHA and NIOSH have published recommended practices to help tobacco workers and employers avoid a potentially deadly combination of illnesses.

The bulletin highlights the risks and warning signs of nicotine poisoning, also known as Green Tobacco Sickness. People with GTS also may be more susceptible to heat illness, which can be deadly.

To reduce nicotine exposure among workers, the agencies recommend that employers take the following steps:

  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment to workers.
  • Train workers on the proper use of adequate PPE.
  • Make sure workers can recognize GTS signs and symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.
  • Train supervisors to recognize GTS symptoms in employees and to ensure sick employees drink water, rest in shade and receive medical attention if necessary.

“The best way to protect people from on-the-job hazards is to prevent those hazards in the first place, and this bulletin outlines commonsense steps to reduce nicotine exposure and prevent heat illness,” Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said in a press release. “It’s important that we continue to work with a wide array of stakeholders in order to find solutions that protect all workers.”