Some key Health and Safety Issues

Site updated on July 6, 2017

Risk Assessments

All employers are required to carry out risk assessments. The purpose of this is to identify any potential risk that the employees or workers may face whilst carrying out their employment. Your employer must then take reasonable steps to reduce or eliminate any risks identified.

You must not work for a minimum of 2 weeks after childbirth (this is called Compulsory Leave); this increases to 4 weeks for factory or manual workers.

Employers are specifically required to identify any risks to a pregnant woman. This risk assessment should be carried out whenever there are women of child bearing age in the workforce. When you tell your employer that you are pregnant, ask if there are any Health and Safety issues you need to be aware of. Your Employer should have considered the risks associated with your job and should advise you . If there is a Trade union, talk to your Health and Safety rep.

If your job involves, for example, heavy lifting or exposure to heat and vibration, discuss this with your employer and if necessary your Doctor.

Where any risks to you have been identified now that you are pregnant, and these cannot be easily reduced, your employer should offer you alternative work or suspend you on full pay if no suitable alternative work can be found. The alternative work should be on broadly the same terms and conditions of employment, including pay. If you unreasonably refuse to carry out suitable alternative work, you may lose the right to be paid.

Your Health and Safety rights last for 6 months after you have given birth, or longer if you are still breastfeeding your child. There is no time limit on the protection you enjoy whilst continuing to breast feed. Whilst your employer is not obliged to allow you to breast feed whilst at work, most employers will consider a reasonable request. You are entitled to suitable rest facilities at your place of work. If this is refused, call our advice line.

Display screen equipment (visual display units)

The use of display screen equipment during pregnancy is not a recognised health hazard. However if you have concerns you should talk to your Manager about the nature of the work you do. If you still have concerns you should consider taking medical advice. If possible the matter could be referred to a Company medical advisor.

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