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Identifying and labeling hazards that are not classified

Louisiana workers who are required to work around chemicals and other materials that could be hazardous are likely aware that such materials are categorized by the Operational Safety and Health Administration. However, there are some hazards that are not covered under OSHA's classification system. These hazards are known as "Hazard Not Otherwise Classified."

An HNOC is determined using criteria known as the "weight-of-evidence" criteria and refers to hazards that are intrinsic to a particular chemical that is used in normal conditions. Manufacturers are required to provide classification of chemical hazards. If an HNOC is identified, the manufacturer is required to list the hazard in Section 2. However, the HNOC does not need to be listed on the hazard's HCS label.

OSHA does not have a requirement when it comes to the label format, so the label preparer has leeway in adding HNOC hazards and any supplemental information. However, the additional information added on the label should not undermine the information that is required to be included by OSHA. It also cannot prevent the signal word and precautionary statements that is required by OSHA.

If a hazard is not properly classified under OSHA's classification system and an employee suffers an injury as a result, an attorney may assist with filing a workers' compensation claim under the employer's insurance coverage. Benefits could include the payment of medical expenses as well as a portion of lost wages. If the claim for benefits is initially denied or disputed by the employer or its insurer, the attorney could provide advocacy during the appeals process.

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