Employers warned over pregnancy risks

Employers
have been warned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that they must ensure
a safe environment for pregnant workers.

The
HSE has published a guide which provides advice on what action companies should
take, including the need to carry out a risk assessment to identify potential
hazards.

Colleen
Bowen, head of the HSE’s health management unit, said: "New and expectant
mothers are entitled to a change in working conditions and should be offered
alternative work, or if that’s not possible, should be suspended from work at
the same rate of pay if risks to her or her child’s health and safety have been
identified."

She
warned: "The HSE will investigate complaints made to them and take
whatever action is deemed necessary under health and safety legislation."

The
average compensation payout for an industrial tribunal involving dismissal due
to pregnancy was £9,871, according to latest figures compiled by the legal
journal Equal Opportunities Review.

By Ben Willmott

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