Work health and safety and your pregnancy
What you need to know about health and safety at work during your pregnancy
If you’re having a healthy, normal pregnancy you can keep on working as long as you feel comfortable. But you need to tell your employer you’re pregnant, so they can assess the risks to you and your baby. Hazards come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and could include:heavy lifting or carrying
- standing or sitting for long periods without adequate breaks
- exposure to toxic substances
- long working hours
Sometimes, risks to your health are more subtle – too much travelling, high stress levels or extremes of temperature.
If your employer does find risks, they need to take reasonable steps to remove them – for example, by offering you different work or changing your hours. If you do a strenuous role, they may need to repeat the assessment as the months roll on – something that’s safe early on may become quite hazardous as your pregnancy progresses.
When risk remains
If your employer really can’t do anything about the risks, for example, offering you suitable alternative work, then they’re obliged to suspend you - on full pay. For full information, see the Health & Safety Executive website.
When your employer won’t play ball
If you think you’re at risk and your employer doesn’t agree, have a chat with your health and safety or trade union representative. If that doesn’t help, talk your doctor, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or the Health and Safety Executive.
Be kind to yourself
It’s easy to get caught up in work pressure, but it’s important to look at your working day through fresh eyes and do everything you can to it suitable for a mum-to-be. Remember to take regular breaks, rest in your lunch break, work reasonable hours, try and ease your commute, eat a healthy diet and nibble on healthy snacks.