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The HNOC classification in the workplace

Oklahoma employees who work around hazardous materials might be aware that there is a type of hazard known as a "Hazard Not Otherwise Classified." This categorization is a result of changes to the Hazard Communication Standard. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration created the category to cover classes that the agency did not adopt and that were also not covered by a Globally Harmonized System hazard category.

An HNOC is intrinsically hazardous. This means that under normal conditions or in foreseeable emergency situations, the substance may create a workplace safety issue. Therefore, while water can be hazardous if it spills and causes a fall, is hot and causes a burn, or is cold and causes hypothermia, it is not normally hazardous and so would not be classified as an HNOC.

Labeling format for HNOCs are not specified by OSHA. There must be precautionary statements, hazard statements and the signal word on the label. Supplemental information must be placed in a way that does not interfere with identifying the other information.

Even with proper labeling, people still might be injured in the workplace by hazardous material. If this happens, they may be eligible for workers' compensation. Sometimes, employees might think they are not eligible for workers' compensation, or their employers might tell them they are not eligible. They might be concerned that filing for workers' compensation will put their job in jeopardy. However, employers are not supposed to retaliate against workers who apply for compensation. An attorney might be able to explain these rights to them and assist with filing a claim for benefits.

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