Special Risks

Last reviewed on 05/11/2012 14:59

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Managing staff with special risks

Simply put, the term 'special risks' applies to those people who are more vulnerable than the rest of us, such as young people and women who are pregnant or who have just come back to work after having a baby. If you have employees who are below the age of 18, or are pregnant or are a new mother, a special risk assessment must be carried out, to make sure that their particular health and safety needs are protected.

For example, young people may have restricted hours of work, and are not allowed to do work that requires the use of certain hazardous substances. In addition, they may only be allowed to carry out certain tasks under supervision.

Caring for pregnant workers and new mothers

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW) includes provision to protect the health and safety of expectant and new mothers in the workplace. You need to take action to ensure that she is not exposed to any significant risk, such as:

  • lifting/carrying heavy or awkward loads
  • standing or sitting for long periods of time or long working hours
  • exposure to infectious diseases, lead or radioactive materials
  • work-related stress or excessively noisy workplaces
  • other people’s smoke in the workplace
  • the threat of violence in the workplace

Remember that under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, if an employer fails to protect the health and safety of his or her pregnant workers, it is automatically considered as sex discrimination at work.

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→ Download our Risk Assessment Form

→ Download our Risk Assessment Form - Worked Example

→ Visit our page on Maternity and paternity pay, leave, laws, rights and policy

→ Visit our page on Young people in the workplace

→ Read New and Expectant Mothers who Work (external site)