The Journal of Science of Labour
Online ISSN : 2187-2570
Print ISSN : 0022-443X
Original Articles
Workers’ comprehensibility of pictograms on chemical labels and confirmation of text information
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2019 Volume 95 Issue 3 Pages 77-90


This study aimed to examine the comprehensibility of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals(GHS) pictograms, as well as factors that facilitate the confirmation of text information on chemical labels, among workers in the manufacturing industry. Participants (n=729) completed an internet-based questionnaire and the data of participants dealing with chemicals in their workplace (n=353) were analyzed. While pictograms representing the nature of a hazard through simple symbols were highly comprehended, most had very low comprehensibility. In some cases this was linked to confusion between the meanings of different pictograms, and a mismatch between the meanings of some pictograms and participants’ typical mental images for them. To improve the comprehensibility of GHS pictograms, the effectiveness of education and improvement of label design were discussed. Furthermore, the confirmation of text information was significantly related to the knowledge and learning experience related to GHS pictograms, the risk perception related to chemicals with GHS pictograms, and the tendency to imagine hazards represented by GHS pictograms. To facilitate the confirmation of text information on chemical labels, managers need to emphasize that chemicals with GHS pictograms contain a certain level of hazards, and work toward improving workers’ risk perception for them in training.

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© 2019 The Institute for Science of Labour
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