UGA Extension facilitated Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) tobacco farm safety and worker training
The concept of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) aims at ensuring sustainable, economically viable production of usable tobacco. The US Tobacco GAP program is an industrywide program supported and funded by all tobacco buying and manufacturing companies in the US. Growers are encouraged to provide on-going training and education in all elements of GAP to workers to ensure that everyone involved in the tobacco production understands the importance of working in a safe manner.
A Jeff Davis County tobacco farmer and longtime extension cooperator questioned his county agent on the availability of training materials available for training workers in farm safety and asked for help in providing the necessary training as required by the GAP program.
A training session was held at the Jeff Davis County Extension Office. Seven farm workers and the tobacco farmer participated in this 1 hour and 30 minute video training using online Spanish videos available on the web. Videos used for this training were located at the following link: http://www.nclabor.com/ash/ash.htm.
Videos were downloaded and projected for all to see in the extension office conference room. Topics included: Los Cuatro Peligros: Se Puede Evitarlos, The Top 4 Farm Hazards: How to Avoid Them; El Montacargas, Forklift Safety; Estrés Por El Calor, Heat Stress; Empacadoras de Tabaco, Tobacco Baler; Cosechadoras de Tabaco, Tobacco Harvester.
Also shown was a video (in Spanish) from the NCDOL Occupational Safety and Health Division's Agricultural Safety and Health Bureau about the prevention and treatment of Green Tobacco Sickness entitled: Prevención y Tratamiento de la Enfermedad de la Hoja de Tabaco, Preventing and Treating Green Tobacco Sickness. This video can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOjhxAO56B4.
This training proved to be a convenient way for Extension to assist a cooperating grower to present worker safety information to workers in their own language, document their attendance and meet some of the requirements of the US Tobacco GAP program. (Reprinted with permission)