Pregnant Women at Work
Being pregnant or a new mother does not prevent women from working and developing their career. Many women work whilst they are pregnant and return to work whilst they are breastfeeding.
However in some workplaces there are risks that may affect the health and safety of new and expectant mothers and that of their child, and the Council is committed to ensuring that not only are new and expectant mothers not prevented from continuing their employment, but also that whilst at work their health and safety, and that of their child, is not put at risk.
Pregnant women can be at risk from work processes, working conditions or physical, biological and chemical agents. These risks will vary depending on the woman’s health and at different stages of her pregnancy.
Some of the more common risks might be: lifting/carrying heavy loads; standing or sitting still for long lengths of time; exposure to infectious diseases; exposure to lead; exposure to toxic chemicals; workstations and posture; exposure to radioactive material; threat of violence in the workplace; long working hours; and excessively noisy workplaces.
There are specific laws that require employers to protect the health and safety of new and expectant mothers, and these are mainly contained in: the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSW), which require employers to protect the health and safety of new and expectant mothers; the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, which require employers to provide suitable rest facilities; and the Equality Act, which provides protection to pregnant women on maternity leave against discrimination (depending on the circumstances, this can include failing to carry out a risk assessment under MHSW regarding a pregnant worker).
Advice on pregnant women at work can be obtained from the Health and Safety Team, Tŷ Elai, Williamstown, CF40 1NY, telephone number 01443 425546.