Maternity Risk Assessment

In the workplace there may be very few risks to a pregnant employee, but the risks will be dependent on the role and working environment.

  • A risk assessment must be completed using form Maternity Risk Assessment PD40 by the employee’s line manager/supervisor (or other responsible person) in consultation with the pregnant employee.
  • This assessment should be undertaken as soon as practicably possible after the pregnancy has been confirmed/notified.
  • Copies of the completed form should be retained by the line manager and the employee and a copy retained within the College/Service.
  • If any health risks are identified that require additional advice or support, please contact the health and safety manager for your College/Service or the Health and Safety Office (H&SO) or the Occupational Health Service (OHS).
  • The risk assessment should be reviewed at reasonable intervals, because risks may vary/change at different stages of the pregnancy.

If an employee has a specific personal concern regarding their health and safety at work whilst pregnant, they can contact the Occupational Health Service directly on a confidential basis. 

Pregnant students

Note, this guidance will also apply to pregnant students. Where pregnant students are involved in activities such as lab-based work, field trips etc, the College should ensure that a risk assessment is completed by an appropriate manager in the College in conjunction with the student as soon as they are notified that the student is pregnant.

If a student has a specific personal concern regarding their health and safety at work whilst pregnant, they should contact the Student Health Centre (or their own GP, if different) in the first instance.

Risks

Common risks can include:

  • Lifting and carrying loads
  • prolonged working at a computer if using poor posture
  • Shift work
  • Exposure to chemicals, radiation, pathogens, dust, fumes, noise or vibration
  • extremes in temperature
  • overseas travel

Action must be taken if a health risk is identified.

Where possible, adaptations should be put in place to allow a pregnant employee to continue working safely (ie without risk to their health). Where this is not possible, the pregnant employee should be provided suitable alternative work.

Common health issues

Pregnancy is a physical condition, not an illness, but can cause a number of health problems. These can include:

  • Morning sickness/nausea
  • backache
  • pelvic joint pain
  • headaches
  • indigestion/heartburn
  • sleeplessness
  • tiredness/fatigue
  • swollen ankles, feet and fingers
  • cramp
  • varicose veins
  • the need to use a toilet more frequently
  • and of course, quite an increase in size!

Useful sources of information and contact numbers

Health and Safety Office: (Exeter) 725340
Occupational health service: (Exeter) 725025 / 3136 / 5792