How to deal with the health and safety rights of new and expectant mothers
Author: Andrea Oates
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- Carry out a risk assessment in relation to new or expectant mothers.
- Tell employees and their representatives about any potential risks, and explain what action is being taken to ensure that new or expectant mothers are not exposed to those risks.
- When an employee provides notification that they are pregnant or breastfeeding or have given birth in the last six months, carry out a specific risk assessment if they are carrying out work that could pose a risk to their health and safety, or that of their baby.
- Ensure that the person assessing the risks to new and expectant mothers has received sufficient training, and that they have sufficient authority to act on the findings.
- Take into account physical risks, biological and chemical agents and working conditions when assessing the risks to new and expectant mothers.
- Alter the employee's working conditions or hours of work if any other action would not avoid a risk that has been identified.
- Offer the employee any suitable alternative work, if it is not reasonable to change their working conditions or hours, or this would not avoid the risk.
- Suspend the employee on full pay if there is no suitable alternative work available.
- Where a new or expectant mother works nights and provides a medical certificate from their GP or midwife that says that they should not work at night, offer them suitable alternative day work, or suspend them from work on full pay.
- Take into consideration that there are particular risks where women are breastfeeding.
- Record the findings of risk assessments, any steps taken to avoid the risks, and any offer of suitable alternative work.
- Keep risk assessments under review.