Code of good practice on Pregnancy and Afterbirth
3.1This code: sets out the legal requirements relevant to the protection of the health and safety of pregnant and breast-feeding employees;
3.2 sets out a method for assessing and controlling the risks to the health and safety of pregnant and breast-feeding employees;
3.3 lists the principal physical, ergonomic, chemical and biological hazards to the health and safety of pregnant and breast-feeding employees and recommends steps to prevent or control these risks. These are listed in Schedules One to Four, which are included for guidance and are not exhaustive.
4. Legal Requirements
4.1The Constitution protects the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to make decisions concerning reproduction [section 12(2)] and gives every person the right to health services, including reproductive health care [section 27(1)(a).
4.2 No person may be discriminated against or dismissed on account of pregnancy. The relevant provisions establishing this right are section 9(3) and (4) of the Constitution; section 187(1) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 and section 6 of the Employment Equity Act of 1998.
4.3 Employers are required to provide and maintain a work environment that is safe and without risk to the health of employees. This includes risks to the reproductive health of employees. These duties are established in terms of both the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) 85 of 1993 and the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) 27 0f 1996. Key aspects of these Acts are –
4.3.1 employers must conduct a risk assessment, which involves identifying hazards, assessing the risk that they pose to the health and safety of employees and recording the results of the risk assessment.
4.3.2 employers must implement appropriate measures to eliminate or control hazards identified in the risk assessment;
4.3.3 employers must supply employees with information about and train them in the risks to their health and safety and the measures taken to eliminate or minimise them;
4.3.4 elected worker health and safety representatives and committees are entitled to participate in the risk assessment and control of hazards;
4.3.5 employees have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect their own health and safety and that of other employees.