Blog

Is there a legal requirement to do a risk assessment once notified an employee is pregnant?

31/05/2016

All employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. Employers must carry out a general risk assessment for their employees to assess all health and safety risks they are exposed to while at work. As part of that process, employers should consider female employees of childbearing age, including new and expectant mothers, assessing risks that may arise from any process, working condition or physical, biological or chemical agents.

While it is a legal obligation for employers to regularly review general workplace risks, there is actually no legal requirement to conduct a specific, separate risk assessment for new and expectant mothers

Where a risk is identified, the employer must take steps to remove or reduce the effect of the risk. If, despite taking all reasonably practicable measures there is still a risk that could jeopardize the health or safety of the pregnant employee, then the employer must take the following steps:

  • Temporarily adjust the pregnant employees working conditions and/or hours of work.
  • If it is not reasonable to do so or would not avoid the risk, offer the pregnant employee suitable alternative work if any is available.
  • If that is not feasible - suspend the pregnant employee from work with pay for as long as necessary to protect your safety or that of your child.

Where the pregnant employee is offered suitable alternative work, the work must be both suitable and appropriate for the employee to do in the circumstances and on terms and conditions no less favourable than their normal terms and conditions. If the employee refuses suitable alternative work, this could jeopardize their right to payment during any period of suspension.

  The HSE websites confirms the following:

"While it is a legal obligation for employers to regularly review general workplace risks, there is actually no legal requirement to conduct a specific, separate risk assessment for new and expectant mothers. However, if you choose to do so, this may help you decide if any additional action needs to be taken.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/mothers/

Fiona Haworth. You can contact Fiona on fiona@practical-hr.co.uk

 


Back to recent articles