Pregnant Workers and Expectant Mothers - A Safety Guide

Published: 7 Nov 2022

There are several hazards within the workplace that can adversely impact new and expectant mothers, and their children. If the work carried out by new or expectant mothers could involve a risk to safety, or if women of a childbearing age are employed, then a risk assessment should be carried out. Each relevant person should be assessed and then informed and taken through the assessment once pregnancy, breastfeeding, or the birth of a child in the last 6 months has been confirmed in writing.

New or expectant mothers include all employees who are pregnant, have given birth in the last 6 months, or are breastfeeding. This guidance also applies to gig workers, agency workers and temporary workers.

Any process or working condition, including physical, biological, or chemical agents which could affect the employee or her child, should be assessed and suitable control measures put in place.

The Risks

  • Postural - Sitting and standing for long periods, lifting, or carrying heavy loads, a workstation not ergonomically designed.
  • Working conditions- Long hours, working at night, environmental conditions.
  • Physical injury- Working at height, working alone, exposure to vibration, risk of violence, manual handling.
  • Exposure to harmful substances - Lead, radioactive material, infectious diseases

The Risk Assessment

Once informed in writing, the employer must complete an individual risk assessment.

  • Review current risk management controls for pregnant workers and new mothers.
  • Talk to the employee or worker to see if there are any conditions or circumstances that could affect their work.
  • Discuss any concerns about how their work could be affected.
  • Review as the pregnancy progresses and if there are any changes to the way a person works.

Any medical recommendations from a professional must be considered.

If a significant risk(s) is identified

1) Adjust the working conditions or hours to avoid the risk, and provide a hygienic and private area for rest breaks.

2) Provide suitable alternative work.

3) Suspend the worker on paid leave for as long as necessary to protect both the person and their child.

For more information about Risk Assessments, please read the CSC Compliance Guidance: An Introduction to Risk Assessments

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