Are there any risks specific to employees who are breastfeeding that employers must consider?
Yes, a particular risk to employees who are breastfeeding is exposure to substances such as lead, organic solvents, pesticides and radioactive material. These substances could be passed on to the employee's child through their milk and cause the child harm.
The employer should also consider other potential risks to a breastfeeding employee, for example inadequate access to food, water and toilet facilities, because breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to increase fluid and food intake to promote breast milk production. As a result of the increased intake, breastfeeding employees may need to go to the toilet more frequently.
Employers have a specific obligation to provide an area for breastfeeding employees to rest, so the risk assessment process should ensure that the employer provides adequate facilities.