Risk assessment for pregnant employees
Risk Assessment for Pregnant Employees – Employer Responsibilities
Risk Assessment for pregnant employees
Once written notification of pregnancy has been received, a special risk assessment for pregnant employees should be instigated. - It is important that the employee gives you, the employer a copy of any advice that their GP/Midwife has given them, which could impact on the risk assessment.
The purpose of the risk assessment is to analyse the role carried out by the employee with a view to identifying any possible risks to mother and baby. Some common risks are as follows:
Lifting/carrying heavy loads
Exposure to toxic substances
Standing/sitting for long periods of time
Workstations and posture
Threat of violence in the workplace
Long working hours
Excessively noisy workplaces
The following are the different stages of/options with a risk assessment for pregnant employees:
Stage 1 – Identify the risks (if any)
Stage 2 – Ascertain what can be done to reduce/remove any identified risks. This may involve adjusting working hours/conditions. It may also involve assigning the employee to alternative work for the duration of the pregnancy (here, the employee’s pay will remain the same).
Stage 3 – Where the risks identified are too great and there is no possibility of removal/reduction (this may not be practical within the workplace etc.), the employer may take the decision to suspend the employee from work until such a time as the health and safety of mother and child are no longer in jeopardy. This is called Health & Safety Leave. The employee would be entitled to full pay for the first three weeks of this period of suspension. An exception to this may be where an employee has unreasonably refused to do the alternative work offered to them or where the employee does not meet any reasonable requirements.
The employer should regularly monitor and review any assessment made to take account of the possible risks that may occur at the different stages of pregnancy.