Date of Award

9-1-2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Health Education

First Advisor

McDermott, Robert

Abstract

In this study, the researcher explored to what extent factors affect workers’ comprehension of chemical hazards in the workplace when utilizing the new Global Harmonization System (GHS) of chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The sample consisted of 422 participants that worked with chemicals as part of their previous or current work-related duties in the United States (U.S) and received chemical safety training. These participants were part of a convenience sample and were recruited utilizing Survey Monkey to collect responses. The participants were asked qualifying questions to verify they have worked with chemicals in the U.S. as a routine part of their previous or current job duties and chemical safety training. Sampling from this particular group made the data generalizable to many other workplaces in the U.S. Using a quantitative study design, the researcher adapted an existing instrument developed and implemented by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in 2010. The research question was to what extent does age, sex, education level, work experience, safety training history, or chemical exposure level influence employees’• comprehension about GHS chemical labels and SDSs?• ability to recognize and use labels and SDSs?• perception of danger?• ability to locate essential chemical safety information correctly?• comprehension of pictograms and other hazard classification elements? and• chemical hazard ranking and interpretation?The researcher first conducted a pilot study before collecting the full-scale sample data and analyzed the data using linear multiple regression to answer the multi-faceted research question. Descriptive analyses were also conducted on the demographics of the participants, such as age, sex, education level, work experience, safety training level, and chemical exposure level. The findings identified areas where capacity building interventions are necessary to improve GHS understanding therefore improving employee health and safety and reducing negative health effects of working with chemicals.

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