Human Resources South Africa|Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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Code of good practice on Pregnancy and Afterbirth 

PREGNANT concept

7. Aspects of Pregnancy that may affect work
Employers and employees should be aware of the following common aspects of pregnancy that may affect work:
7.1 As a result of morning sickness employees may be unable to perform early shift work. Exposure to nauseating smells may also aggravate morning sickness.
7.2 Backache and varicose veins may result from work involving prolonged standing or sitting. Backache may also result from work involving manual handling.
7.3 More frequent visits to the toilet will require reasonable access to toilet facilities and consideration of the employee’s position if leaving the work she performs unattended poses difficulties.
7.4 The employee’s increasing size and discomfort may require changes of protective clothing, changes to work in confined spaces and changes to her work where manual handling is involved. Her increasing size may also impair dexterity, agility, co-ordination, speed of movement and reach.
7.5 The employee’s balance may be affected making work on slippery or wet surfaces difficult.
7.6 Tiredness associated with pregnancy may affect the employee’s ability to work overtime and to perform evening work. The employer may have to consider granting rest periods.
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SCHEDULE ONE
PHYSICAL HAZARDS

HAZARD:
Vibration and mechanical shocks

WHAT IS THE RISK:
Long-term exposure to vibrations may increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Exposure to shocks or whole body vibrations in the later stages of pregnancy can result in premature labour

HOW TO AVOID THE RISK:
It is advised that pregnant workers and those that have recently given birth avoid work that is likely to involve uncomfortable, whole body vibrations, especially at low frequencies, or where the abdomen is exposed to shocks or jolts.
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HAZARD:
Extreme heat

WHAT IS THE RISK:
The exposure of pregnant and breast-feeding employees to extreme heat may lead to dizziness and faintness, particularly in the case of women performing standing work. Lactation may be impaired by heat dehydration.

HOW TO AVOID THE RISK:
Employers should limit the exposure of pregnant and breast-feeding workers to extreme heat. Arrangements for access to rest facilities and refreshments should be made in conditions of extreme heat.
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HAZARD:
Extreme cold

WHAT IS THE RISK:
Work in extremely cold conditions such as cold storage rooms has been associated with problems in pregnancy.

HOW TO AVOID THE RISK:
Employees must be supplied with thermal protective clothing and their exposure to cold limited in terms of regulation 2 of the Environmental Regulations for Workplaces, made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
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HAZARD:
Noise

WHAT IS THE RISK:
Prolonged exposure to noise can elevate the blood pressure of pregnant women and lead to tiredness.

HOW TO AVOID THE RISK:
Employers should ensure compliance with regulation 7 of the Environmental Regulations for Workplaces, OHSA.
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HAZARD:
Ionising radiation

WHAT IS THE RISK:
Significant exposure to ionising radiation is known to be harmful to the foetus. Working with radioactive liquids or dusts can result in exposure of the foetus (through ingestion or via contamination of the mother’s skin) or a breast-fed baby to ionising radiation.

HOW TO AVOID THE RISK:
Work procedures should be designed to keep exposure of pregnant women as low as reasonably practicable and below the statutory dose limit for a pregnant woman.

Pregnant women or breast-feeding mothers should not work where there is a risk of radioactive contamination.

Employers of registered radiation workers, including radiographers, must comply with the regulations controlling the use of electronic products issued under the Nuclear Energy Act 131 of 1993.
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