Thursday, November 23, 2006

Women of child bearing age

Unborn and young babies are particularly vulnerable to certain hazards. Therefore, any workplace where women of child bearing age may be present must assess the risks to unborn and young babies. It is not good enough to just deal with this when someone announces they are present as a lot of damage can be done in the early weeks of pregnancy, and it must be recognised that the woman may not even know she is pregnant at this time.

Particular concerns are where any of these are present or can occur

* Working in awkward spaces and workstations.
* Vibration.
* Noise.
* Radiation
* Biological agents
* Infections.
* Chemical hazards
* Handling drugs and pesticides,
* Lead etc
* Inadequate facilities (including rest rooms).
* Excessive working hours (nightwork etc).
* Unusually stressful work.
* Exposure to cigarette smoke.
* High or low temperatures.
* Lone working.
* Work at heights.
* Travelling.
* Exposure to violence.

Also, it is recognised that expectant and new mothers can suffer from pregnancy related health problems that need to be taken into account.

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to take particular account of of risks to new and expectant mothers. They require risks to be assessed and results made known to all women of child bearing age.


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