In response to the revised Hazard Communication Standard, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has designated a new class of hazards. Workers in Minneapolis companies should be aware that there is a Hazard Not Otherwise Classified category. These are health or physical hazards that are not part of the hazard class or are GHS hazards in a category not yet adopted by OSHA.

To be classified as HNOC, a substance must be intrinsically dangerous during normal use or foreseeable emergencies. This means that some substances can be hazardous under certain conditions without being HNOC. For example, water can be a hazard if someone slips on a wet floor, is scalded by boiling water or is in cold water over a long period of time, but it is not dangerous during ordinary use. Therefore, it is not an HNOC.

OSHA has not designated a specific format for labeling HNOCs. However, it should be labeled according to OSHA standards, and supplemental information should not interfere with otherwise clear labeling.

People who are injured on the job, whether it is due to a hazardous substance or for some other reason, may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Most employees who suffer workplace injuries are eligible even if they were responsible for the accident. However, employees might not know what their rights are, and some employers may not know as well. Employers are not permitted to retaliate against workers who apply for compensation. People who are injured on the job might want to talk to an attorney about the accident and their options. The attorney might be able to assist them in applying for workers’ compensation and dealing with appeals or with their employer if any issues arise.