Being pregnant and/or a new mother is for most, just one of life's many exciting events, and employers have to re - assess the working conditions that before pregnancy were deemed acceptable, but now no longer may be.
In many workplaces there are risks, which may affect the health and safety of the mother and her unborn child. These could be physical, ergonomic, biological and/or chemical.
The employer has a duty to take action to ensure that new and expectant mothers are not exposed to any significant risk and to conduct a specific risk assessment, seeking assistance from both the employee and their medical advisors. Should the risks be unavoidable then the woman’s working conditions will need to be adapted so that the risks can be avoided such as finding alternative work or changes to the working environment or tasks they perform.
Pregnant employees should not be exposed to chemical or biological hazards. Specific risks could include;
Employers should review the risks throughout the term of the pregnancy as risks may alter.
Underpinning the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations and the overriding requirement to undertake workplace risk assessments, under the Equality Act 2010, if an employer fails to protect the health and safety of their pregnant workers, it could be considered a breach of their statutory entitlement.
The regulations cover female employees who are, or in the future could be, new or expectant mothers.
Whilst not mandatory, it is always wise for employees to advise their employers with written notification of a change of their health as early as possible. This should ensure a smooth transition for all concerned and help to reduce the risk to an absolute minimum.
Looking for Health and Safety support?