Risk assessment for pregnant workers: ask the expert

I’m currently in early pregnancy. I have notified my employer about being pregnant. I work as a bus driver and can often be driving up to five hours at a time without easy access to a toilet. I already have very little space between my stomach and the steering wheel. Other women who have been pregnant have had alternative work given to them before they went on maternity leave. I have not had a risk assessment done yet and my boss has known I have been pregnant for three weeks. He says he needs proof that I am pregnant via a MatB1 form. But surely something can be done? Please help.

It sounds like your boss is being unreasonable! Your employer only needs a MatB1 form to pay you SMP while you are on maternity leave – they don’t need it for any other reason, including to do a Risk Assessment.
That said, although it is a legal obligation for employers to regularly review general workplace risks, there is no legal requirement to conduct a specific, separate risk assessment for a pregnant employee. However, they must carry out a general risk assessment for all their employees to assess all health and safety risks they are exposed to while at work, and that includes expectant mothers who may have specific risks that may arise from their working conditions.
I suggest that you notify your employer in writing of your pregnancy – this counts as a formal notification regardless of whether a MatB1 is provided (you wouldn’t normally be issued with one until at least 20 weeks into your pregnancy anyway.) If your boss doesn’t address this properly, you can legitimately argue that he is in breach of his legal duty of care towards you as an employee.

Comments [1]

  • Anonymous says:

    This information is incorrect. In fact your employer does have an obligation to carry out a risk assessment. From the HSE website:
    "Regulation 16 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a duty on employers to carry out a risk assessment in respect of new or expectant mothers."

    Editor: The information given by Tara Daynes comes almost directly from the HSE site – see http://www.hse.gov.uk/mothers/faqs.htm

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