2010 Volume 48 Issue 6 Pages 835-844
Chemical classification and labelling systems may be roughly similar from one country to another but there are significant differences too. In order to harmonize various chemical classification systems and ultimately provide consistent chemical hazard communication tools worldwide, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) was endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Several countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia, are now in the process of implementing GHS. It is essential to ascertain the comprehensibility of chemical hazard communication tools that are described in the GHS documents, namely the chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Comprehensibility Testing (CT) was carried out with a mixed group of industrial workers in Malaysia (n=150) and factors that influence the comprehensibility were analysed using one-way ANOVA. The ability of the respondents to retrieve information from the SDS was also tested in this study. The findings show that almost all the GHS pictograms meet the ISO comprehension criteria and it is concluded that the underlying core elements that enhance comprehension of GHS pictograms and which are also essential in developing competent persons in the use of SDS are training and education.