The global chemical industry

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

Global Harmonized System ( GHS ) of categorization and labeling of chemicals is a coveted system of categorising the degree of dangerousness of both risky and non-hazardous chemicals so that it can be easy and rapidly understood by people who routinely handle them. The GHS is necessary because of the many different labeling systems that exist in economic parts all over the universe. With globalisation and universe trade, the conveyance of chemicals into different parts is non merely inevitable but economically necessary. The planetary chemical industry constitutes more than $ 1.7 trillion per twelvemonth and affects about every portion of our day-to-day lives from conveyance to agriculture to consumer merchandises. However elaborate information about the dangers and hazards of these chemicals may non be understood by the people who use them, whether it be by lingual misinterpretation or by differences in legal position of the chemical internationally or even by illiteracy.The GHS was foremost initiated in the 1992 UN conference on Environment and Development ( “ the Earth Summit ” ) when an international authorization was adopted with the purpose of making:“ A globally harmonized jeopardy categorization and compatible labelling system, including stuff safety informations sheets and easy apprehensible symbols, should be available, if executable, by the twelvemonth 2000. ”The harmonisation was one of six plan countries that were endorsed by the UN general Assembly to assist environmental attempts on chemical direction.

GHS has the overall intent of taking to cut down the figure of occupational accidents caused by misunderstood dangers of chemical merchandises. To execute this, it was necessary to measure the degree of hazard associated with each chemical in every class where it could perchance be unsafe. There are three Fieldss that the GHS categorizes the jeopardy,

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  1. Physical jeopardy
  2. Health Hazard
  3. Environmental Hazard

A GHS label is composed of 5 parts:

  1. A pictogram and precautional statement
  2. A signal word
  3. A jeopardy statement
  4. A Product Identifier
  5. Supplier Information

These labels serve to warn the users about the basic effects of exposure or mishandling but for more proficient cognition about the chemical the GHS besides employs more comprehensive information about a substance or mixture in the signifier of the Safety Data Sheets ( SDS ) . The SDS provides this information under 16 headers in the order below:

  • Designation
  • Hazard ( s ) designation
  • Composition/information on ingredients
  • First Aid measurings
  • Fire-fighting steps
  • Accidental release steps
  • Managing and storage
  • Exposure controls/personal protection
  • Physical and chemical belongingss
  • Stability and responsiveness
  • Toxicological information
  • Ecological information
  • Disposal considerations
  • Conveyance information
  • Regulative information
  • Other information

The GHS was implemented in 2008 and so far a figure of instance surveies have been done to estimate the utility of the GHS.

One survey performed among Chinese college pupils ( Su and Hsu, 2008 ) , investigated it ‘ . The intent of this survey was to look into the perceptual experience and attitude of college pupils about chemical substance labeling and compared the consequences to traffic marks. One 1000 pupils with research lab activities were selected from colleges in southern Taiwan and given inquiries based on their perceptual experience of the labeling of risky stuffs. The Percept consequences for pupils who had or had n’t received training class on jeopardy communicating showed that pupils who received preparation faired much better at construing the jeopardies than those who had n’t. Another consequence from this survey analyzed the pupils ‘ ability to state what the jeopardy entailed instead than merely comprehend the danger. Based on the pictograms entirely Su found that while pupils both with and without preparation could state the hazard associated with on 7 of the more common symbols like “ Flammable ” and “ Explosive ” to a satifactory degree, most pupils could non measure the hazard on 17 of the less well-known 1s, like “ oxidising liquids ” or “ Carcinogens ” to the ISO recommended citeria of 66 % .This is compared to the pupils perceptual experience of traffic marks, a likewise in writing signifier of pass oning hazard.

Su analyzed pupils who were both car-drivers and non-car-drivers and found that the overpowering bulk of pupils understood the hazards indicated by roadsigns even those non licensed to drive.From this Su implies that chemical jeopardy information is non being delivered by graphical designs entirely but that the high degree of perceptual experience of traffic marks would bespeak that it is possible to make a higher degree of perceptual experience by increased public exposure. In the interim the independent usage of pictograms without warning words should be avoided. Su besides suggests that labels should be assigned a figure based on each jeopardies as a manner of increasing public perceptual experience.Another survey performed in the Western Cape Province in South Africa ( Rother, 2008 ) . 115 Western Cape Province farm workers working in big commercial horticultural farms were selected because of their regular exposure to big sums of pesticides. Rother questioned the husbandmans on their reading of assorted pictograms found in normally used pesticides.

The interviewee was asked to measure the hazard they thought the pesticide had and how the pictogram suggested the chemical should be handled. Many of the husbandmans were illiterate or have difficulty with reading so the intent of the survey was to measure whether or non these husbandmans would construe the symbols harmonizing to the FAO/GIFAP definitions. The concluding behind this is that misinterpreted symbols are every bit unsafe as neglected one.

Roher found the undermentioned consequencesAs this consequences sample shows, there was a clear misinterpretation about some of the warning labels among the workers. Overall Roher found that merely one in 10 of the pictograms were right understood by at least 50 % of the workers. If one were to take partly right replies into history merely one in four of the workers had the right construct of what the symbol was proposing. This presents a badgering job for the GHS whose pesticide pictograms are about indistinguishable to those present in the survey. The survey besides brings in inquiry the affect local civilization, traditions or even gender has on reading of pictogram. As pictograms are suppose to be gender impersonal but this rise inquiries on how to implement no breast-feeding pictogram.

Culturally, an Ten was interpreted by many in the survey as a Cross which is the traditional symbol of infirmaries.This survey presents a challenge to GHS as the GHS was designed to hold a universally reading. While signal words cut down the sum of misunderstanding, this in bend creates jobs for those who are illiterate, like those in the survey. Ruthor ends the paper by proposing that the GHS be tailored better to the mark audience in pass oning the jeopardy hazard, particularly in developing states.A survey on alterations ensuing from the execution of the GHS in the research lab ( Hill Jr ) found that the passage over to the GHS created a manageable sum of confusion since many of the pictograms were already existing in OSHA protocols. A cause for concern was the ranking of jeopardies on the preexistent NFPA diamond information in which the most risky substances were ranked as 4, so 3, so 2 and the least risky 1.

Under the GHS the antonym is the instance with 1 being the most risky and 4 the least. As the NFPA diamond system is steadfastly entrenched in many research labs and fire Stationss, it seems likely that both systems will coexist for an drawn-out period of clip. This makes the likeliness of a serious accident more likely.


The cardinal beginnings used in this study were A Guide to The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals ( GHS ) , every bit good as the mentions in subdivision 3. The cardinal hunt engine used in this survey was sciencedirect.

com. Due to the limited clip in which the GHS has been in force there has been merely a few surveies performed on the public perceptual experience of the GHS and its success rate. There were many surveies based on the development and inside informations of the GHS but as all of them had mentions to the original GHS usher, it seemed unneeded to include them in the library study.The latest edition of the GHS ( alteration 3, 2008 ) was used to beginning most of the informations nowadays in the study peculiarly the pictograms whose inclusion were deemed of import to the overall study. Equally good as this, there are merely three documents present which assess the impact of the GHS in every twenty-four hours life.Hill ( 2010 ) was chosen because it was assessed by a scientist who was in a alone place of detecting the impact of the GHS compared to older systems, while staying comparatively inexperienced with the GHS.

This was thought suited as most people would be wholly unfamiliar with what the GHS was other than through its system of pictograms, hence doing this writer comparatively indifferent in his appraisal.Roher ( 2006 ) was suited for adverting due to his survey into illiterate workers, which is one of the cardinal marks of the GHS. This paper was nevertheless non without its defects, due to the hapless sample base and non-randomness of the survey. However it was the lone relevant paper.Su ( 2008 ) was included as it was both relevant and a through survey that had a suited control group which could be compared to the GHS-related trial group.

This made it a valuable part to the analysis of the perceptual experience the GHS has and whether or non it could be understood clearly by the ballad population.


  • UNCED. Agenda 21. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, New York 1992.


  • HILL JR, R. H. GHS and its impact on research lab safety.

    Journal of Chemical Health and Safety, In Press, Uncorrected Proof.

  • ROTHER, H.-A. ( 2008 ) South African farm workers ‘ reading of hazard appraisal informations expressed as pictograms on pesticide labels. Environmental Research, 108, 419-427.
  • SU, T.-S.

    & A ; HSU, I. Y. ( 2008 ) Percept towards chemical labeling for college pupils in Taiwan utilizing Globally Harmonized System. Safety Science, 46, 1385-1392.