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Do you know what the law says about protecting your pregnant employees?

by , 23 May 2013
Imagine this... Your stock control manager informs you that she's four months pregnant.

You know that her job description includes picking up heavy boxes and working with chemicals such as lead.

Lead is very harmful to pregnant woman and their unborn babies as it can put them at risk of miscarriage or low baby weight

But do you know that you have legal requirements to protect her and her unborn baby?

Let's take a look at what the Code of Good Practice says about protecting your pregnant employees.


Did you know that as an employer you have more than 1 000 health and safety duties?

Don't ignore your health and safety obligations to your pregnant employees.

If you do, you could face a R100 000 fine and/or a jail sentence.

Click here to find the ultimate solution to avoid penalties


3 Legal requirements to protect your pregnant employees (Code of Good Practice)

1.    You must provide and maintain a safe working environment. This means you must ensure your workplace doesn't have risks that'll harm your pregnant employee.

Example: Too many boxes stacked on top of each other with no support. This can result to boxes falling and injuring your employee

2.    Don't give your pregnant employees tasks that may be hazardous to them or their unborn babies.

Example: Picking up of heavy boxes and packing stock. This can result to an injured back.

3.    You must protect your employees against hazards during pregnancy, after the birth of the child and while breastfeeding.

Example:  Hazards such as machinery that make too much noise, shocks and vibrations. This will course a risk of hearing problems for the unborn baby

Now that you know the legal requirements to protect the new moms to be, let me show you five steps to ensure a safe working environment.


Risk Assessment made easy

5 Easy steps to identify hazards and assess risks in your workplace


5 Steps to ensure a safe working environment for your pregnant employees

1.    Identify, record and regularly review potential risks to your employees. You need to do the review often and each time an employee tells you she's pregnant.

2.    Encourage your employees to tell you about their pregnancy as soon as possible. You'll be able to identify and assess risks and also take the necessary actions.

3.    Train your employees on any hazards that may harm them and their unborn babies and how to prevent them.

4.    Identify, record and often review protective measures. Take a look at how you can adjust your working arrangements for your employees.

5.    Maintain a list of all jobs that don't involve any risks to your employees while they're pregnant. This list will help you identify 'safe jobs' quicker and ensure you don't loose out on productivity even when your pregnant employee has been moved to a new position. Don't forget that you need to get HR involved to make sure you comply with all the labour laws.

For more steps on how to protect your pregnant employees, go to section (P06) of the Health and Safety Advisor.

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Stay safe

Leah Mathibe
Online Product Manager: Health and Safety

P.S.  Turn to chapter (P06) of your Health and Safety Advisor and implement a breastfeeding policy today!

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