Risk assessments for pregnancy – recent changes

Recently, the Health & Safety Executive updated its guidance and introduced a new requirement for businesses to carry out an individual risk assessment when a worker informs them in writing that they are pregnant, breastfeeding or have given birth in the last six months.

The HSE guidance confirms that employers should:

  • Review their existing general risk management and controls.
  • Talk to the worker to understand whether there are any specific circumstances related to their pregnancy which may affect their work.
  • Discuss any concerns with the worker.
  • Consult with their safety representation or trade union (if applicable).

The risk assessment must be regularly reviewed as the worker's pregnancy progresses and/or if there are significant changes to the individual's working activities or workplace.

While many employers will already be completing individual risk assessments, as they were not previously required, employers should familiarise themselves with the HSE requirements and update their processes accordingly to ensure compliance.