Workplace risk and maternity
In the workplace there usually very few risks to a pregnant employee, and most women continue working while pregnant, and there is little reason why being pregnant should stop women from continuing their employment.
Employers have certain obligations towards their employees once they have been notified in writing that she is a new or expectant mother.
As the earliest stages of pregnancy are the most critical ones for the developing child it is in the employee’s best interest to let her employer know she is pregnant as soon as possible.
Your workplace risk assessment should already consider any risks to female employees of childbearing age and, in particular, risks to new and expectant mothers (for example, from working conditions, or the use of physical, chemical or biological agents). Any risks identified must be included and managed as part of the general workplace risk assessment.
If you are notified that an employee is pregnant, breastfeeding or has given birth within the last six months, you should check your workplace risk assessment to see if any new risks have arisen. If risks are identified during the pregnancy, in the first six months after birth or while the employee is still breastfeeding, you must take appropriate, sensible action to reduce, remove or control them.
While it is a legal obligation for employers to regularly review general workplace risks, there is actually no legal requirement to conduct a specific, separate risk assessment for new and expectant mothers. However, if you choose to do so, this may help you decide if any additional action needs to be taken.
Click here to see the steps employers are required to take, as stated by the health and safety executives*.