It’s YOUR duty to protect pregnant and breastfeeding employees! Here’s how to do it

Ashley Churchyard, Fsp Business, 08 Aug. 2014

Tags: pregnant or breastfeeding employees, protecting pregnant or breastfeeding employees, risks to pregnant or breastfeeding employees, pregnant or breastfeeding employees in the workplace

More and more women across the globe choose to have careers and families. This means pregnant or breastfeeding employees are a common sight in business everywhere. With Women’s Day tomorrow, spare a thought for how you protect these employees.

It’s not enough to just stick them behind a desk and assume that because they’re sitting, they’re safe. You need to ensure these employees and their babies are safe.

Here’s how...


Here’s how you can protect your pregnant or breastfeeding employees at work

You mustn’t let a pregnant or breastfeeding employee do hazardous work. You must also assess and control any risks to her and her child’s health.
To do this, you must do a risk assessment that targets any risks to a mother and her baby (born or unborn). 
Once you’ve identified any risks that could affect her and her baby’s health, take steps to remove the risk so if won’t affect them.
Here are some of the risks you may have to protect her from.
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Here are some of the risks you must protect your pregnant or breastfeeding employee from:

1. Physical hazards
- Exposure to noise, vibration, radiation, electric and electromagnetic fields and radioactive substances;
- Work in extreme environments; and
- The control of heating and air conditioning.
2. Ergonomic hazards
- Heavy physical work;
- Static work posture;
- Frequent bending and twisting;
- Lifting heavy objects and movements requiring force;
- Repetitive work; and
- Awkward postures.
3. Chemical hazards
Look out for ANY chemicals in your employee’s area. Contact with harmful chemical substances may cause infertility and foetal abnormalities. 
4. Biological hazards.
- High standards of personal hygiene – washing hands, bathing regularly;
- Surveillance of staff in high-risk areas; and
- Appropriate sterilisation and disinfecting procedures.
Do a thorough risk assessment so you can protect your pregnant or breastfeeding employees, and their babies from any of these risks.
*********** Reader’s choice  ***************
Do you have more than 20 employees?
Don’t ignore this health and safety obligation or else!
The DoL will slap you with a R50 000 fine or 1 year in jail if you don’t have a health and safety representative.
Here’s how to avoid it…

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