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Health and Safety

Agricultural work often involves the use of potentially hazardous materials and may be performed under adverse conditions -- so the health and safety of workers are important issues. EPA is concerned about chemicals that present special hazards, and about the dangers that heat stress can cause for agricultural workers.

Related topics
Natural Events and Disasters

More information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA - Agriculture page

More information from the states Exit EPA
State OSHA Resource Locator


Chemical Safety

Whenever significant hazards are found in the course of accident investigations, EPA issues Chemical Safety Alerts to inform facilities, State Emergency Response Commissions, Local Emergency Planning Committees, emergency responders, and others. The purpose of the Safety Alerts is to reduce risks and prevent future accidents.

Related topics
Chemical Safety

Related publications from the Ag Center
Chemical Safety

More information from EPA
Chemical Safety Alerts and Bulletins

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Heat Stress in Agriculture

Heat stress is the buildup in the body of heat generated in the muscles during work, and of heat coming from warm or hot work environments. High air temperatures and humidity put agricultural workers at special risk of  heat stress. Pesticide workers and early-entry workers are at particularly great risk. The special clothing and equipment they wear for protection from exposure to pesticides can restrict the evaporation of sweat, blocking the body's natural way of cooling itself, which results in a buildup of body temperature. Exposure to certain pesticides can also produce sweating, and there can be combined effects with exposure to heat. In addition, pesticides are absorbed through hot, sweaty skin more quickly than through cool skin.

Related environmental requirements
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Exit EPA
40 CFR Part 170 - Worker Protection Standard

More information from EPA
A Guide to Heat Stress in Agriculture -- summary

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