Risk assessments are an important part of health and safety in the workplace. They help you to identify and control the risks that could affect your employees.
When it comes to pregnant employees, there are a number of risks that need to be considered including risks to the health and wellbeing of the mother and child, as well as risks associated with the workplace itself.
Why is a risk assessment for pregnant employees important?
All employers have a duty of care to protect pregnant employees from any potential risks and hazards in the workplace, and this includes both before and after childbirth.
Conducting a risk assessment for pregnant employees is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it will help to ensure that the risks associated with their day to day job are reduced. Secondly, it will help to provide you with a clearer picture of your legal obligations.
Risk assessments are a legal requirement, and carrying out one for your pregnant employees will help ensure you are compliant with health and safety laws. Additionally, doing a risk assessment protects you against potential liabilities. If you fail to carry out a risk assessment and this leads to injury or harm, your business may face costly legal action.
So, what should you include in a risk assessment for pregnant employees? Keep reading to find out!
How to conduct a risk assessment?
Conducting a risk assessment is relatively straightforward. The first step is to identify any potential risks that could affect the mother and child.
You need to consider and address issues such as lifting or carrying, the ergonomics of an employee’s workstation, whether they are standing or sitting for a prolonged period, and of course exposure to dangerous or toxic substances.
It’s a good idea to have an assessment template to hand which you can work through. This will help in ensuring you capture as much information as possible and don’t miss any key points. Contact us at email@example.com if you would like a template.
Once the risks have been identified, you should then assess how likely it is that these risks will actually cause harm, and what the potential consequences could be. This should then be followed by determining the most appropriate course of action to eliminate, control or reduce the risks. This may include a temporary adjustment to working hours, incorporating regular rest breaks, protective equipment or modifying the tasks that the employee is required to undertake for the remainder of their pregnancy.
If you identify risks and are unable to make adjustments, it may be appropriate to look at alternative, suitable work. Where this is not possible you may need to suspend the employee on full pay until it is safe for them to return to their duties, or until their maternity leave begins. Please speak to us if you need advice on this.
When should you conduct a risk assessment?
This should be carried out at the earliest opportunity and at regular intervals thereafter during the employee’s pregnancy. You should also carry out a further assessment when the employee returns from maternity leave. This should consider any changes in the workplace, any changed requirements such as post surgery modifications, as well as breastfeeding, and then carrying out a review of the risks associated with their job.
The bottom line
Risk assessments for pregnant employees are an important part of health and safety in the workplace. They help you to identify and control the risks that could affect the mother and child, ensuring their health and safety.
Robinson Grace HR Consultancy provides expert Health & Safety guidance to ensure you are compliant with pregnancy risk assessments and have all safety policies and procedures in place to include risk assessment templates.
If you would benefit from additional advice about risk assessments or health and safety at work, please get in touch.
Please contact Robinson Grace HR for further advice and support via firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01793 311937 to see if we can help you.
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The content of our blogs is intended for general information only and does not replace legal or other professional advice.