If you are working in a specific risk area and are wishing to conceive, are pregnant or wanting to breastfeed your baby, you must inform and discuss this with a line manager, supervisor or personal tutor as soon as possible.
You need to complete the personal risk assessment form with your Line Manager / Supervisor / Personal Tutor where your area of work includes any of the following high hazard activities or where you may work in close proximity to these activities. Once sections have been completed, you need to make sure it remains relevant and any significant changes need to be discussed with your line manager / supervisor / personal tutor.
|Hazard||Guidance and Controls|
Chemical substances which are classified as carcinogens teratogens, or mutagens have the potential to pose a risk to the unborn child. While these substances may have the potential to cause harm there may in practice be no risk if exposure is below a level which may cause harm. The actual risk to health of these substances can only be determined by carrying out a risk assessment of a particular work activity.
Complete a specific assessment of chemicals using manufacturers safety data for information. These can be found on the Material Safety Data Sheet which should be supplied with every hazardous substance. Chemicals with the following classification must not be handled without containment sufficient to protect the worker. Carcinogens (R40/R45/R46/R49), Teratogens (R61/ R63/ R64/ R68), Mutagens (R46) or the newly appointed Hazard Phrases, covering the same groups H340; H341; H350; H351; H360; H361; H362
Mercury or mercury derivatives, Lead or lead derivatives, Antimitotic (cytotoxic) drugs, Pesticides, Carbon Monoxide. Exposure of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to lead is specifically prohibited by law if the exposure might jeopardise safety or health. Once pregnancy is confirmed women should be suspended from any work which exposes them significantly to lead.
Infectious biological materials
Avoid exposure to work involving the following agents
Avoid research activities with materials known to have illness that are of particular concern for pregnant women (see General Guidance).
Avoid work with sewage, farms and fieldwork at locations where infectious biological agents could be substantial.
Avoid handling materials that may be contaminated with blood products unless suitably protected.
Where avoidance to the agents listed is not practicable, ensure sufficient use of microbiological safety cabinets, good hygiene practices and compliance with the wearing of suitable personal protective equipment to prevent exposure. If necessary seek advice from the University Biosafety Adviser or Occupational Health.
Larger lab coats, possibly in conjunction with the wearing of plastic aprons should be considered as the pregnancy progresses to ensure sufficient protection.
There are less common infections and toxoplasmosis which can cause complications during pregnancy and can be picked up through contact with animals, therefore visits to farms or work involving potential contact with animals should be avoided.
|Noise (above lower exposure action level) and Use of vibration equipment||
Exposure to noise should be control in line with the Noise at Work Regulations
Avoid work likely to involve significant whole body vibration or where the abdomen is exposed to shock and jolts
|Working with equipment likely to induce electromagnetic fields, particularly EMF’s above the action level||
University Radiation Protection Officer must be consulted for professional assessment of the risk.
|Exposure to Ionising Radiation||
Withdrawal from activity pending suitable controls being verified. Suitable controls should be used to keep
Women of child bearing age to be given opportunity of discussing potential radiation issues with local RPS or the University Radiation Protection Officer.
Prohibit/limit exposure; good work practices to be adopted; high standards of laboratory and personal hygiene; monitoring for contamination after work with radiation sources; dosimetry determined by risk assessment.
|Work at Heights||
A risk assessment should consider any additional risks from working at height due to the physiological and physical changes during pregnancy. If these risks cannot be managed sufficiently, work at height should be avoided.
|Manual Handling where there is heavy or frequent lifting||
Postural and hormonal changes affect the pregnant womans susceptibility to injury from manual handling both during and for some time after their pregnancy and for some time after their pregnancy.
The new or expectant mother should pay particular attention to lifting technique and wherever possible use a mechanical aid. The additional size of her abdomen will prevent the person from holding the load close to the body. The additional weight of the pregnancy increases the load on the lumbar spine.
Where repetitive lifting or manual handling is unavoidable and the task cannot be feasibly redesigned, the pregnant worker may need to be reassigned. This may only be necessary in late stage pregnancy. There is no set weight which has been defined as safe to lift in pregnancy. This is because it can depend on stature, health and any pregnancy complications.
Further general information on lifting and handling is available within the Policy, Arrangements & Guidance.
Work in designated confined spaces should be reviewed and avoided
|Activities involving direct contact with the public or activities where there could be a risk of confrontation or violence||
All persons engaged in work activities that involve direct contact with the public where they could be entering a confrontational situation should have undergone training to manage confrontation and de-escalation and should know when and how to withdraw from the situation safely.
When working off campus, carry out a pre-visit assessment. Ensure no visitation is permitted to anyone or any location deemed to be high risk where there could be an increased risk of confrontation or violence.
Ensure persons who could be exposed to violence by virtue of their work are provided with suitable alternative work.
|Work in excessive heat||
Pregnant women are less tolerant of high temperatures. They are more prone to fainting and heat stress which can be dangerous for both the mother and child.
Care should be taken when exposed to heat for prolonged periods.
Drinking water must be readily available.
Temperatures in excess of 32 C should be avoided.