Risk Assessment – Pregnant Workers & New Mothers
The HSE has updated its guidance in relation to the need to carry out individual risk assessments for pregnant workers and new mothers. Previously employers may have relied upon standard risk assessments.
Employers have a specific duty to prevent a new or expectant mother from being exposed to a risk once an employer is informed in writing that a worker is pregnant, has given birth within the previous 6 months or is breastfeeding.
After research and evidence was presented by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and in consultation with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, affiliates and other stakeholders, the Health and Safety Executive has updated its guidance making it clear that to comply with this legal responsibility, employers must carry out individual risk assessments.
This individual assessment must:
- Review the employer’s existing general risk management and controls for pregnant workers and new mothers.
- Talk to the employee to see if there are any conditions or circumstances with their pregnancy that could affect their work.
- Discuss any concerns they have about how their work could affect their pregnancy.
- Take account of any medical recommendations provided by their doctor or midwife; and
- Consult with their safety representative or trade union if they have one.
The guidance also makes clear employers should review the individual risk assessment as the pregnancy progresses or if there are any significant changes to a worker’s activity or workplace.
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