New and Expectant Mothers
The legal duty to assess risk includes a consideration of risks arising to women of child-bearing age.
The unborn child is most at risk in the very earliest stages of development when the employee may not yet know that she is expecting. The general approach to Risk Assessment will proactively identify this risk where women of child-bearing age are identified as a risk group.
Being pregnant or a new mother should not prevent an employee from working and developing their career. Many women work during pregnancy and return to work while they are breastfeeding. In many workplaces there are risks which may affect the health and safety of expectant mothers and that of their child. Working conditions previoulsy considered acceptable may no longer be so during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Where the employee notifies the employer that she is a new or expectant mother, and a specific work-related issue has been identified (via Doctor's or Midwife's letter, or MED 3 Certificate (Fit Note) as potentially impacting on the employee's health, her unborn child or other pregnancy related issue; an Individual Risk Assessment will be conducted considering risks arising from her work activities, work processes, workplace and working and welfare conditions. Procedure OHS-C-26 refers.