Mother’s Day – Health and Safety for New Mothers
As the flurry of chocolate adverts and TV spots will likely have reminded our United Kingdom readers, Mother’s Day UK is less than a week away. For most this will provoke a panicked rush for gifts, the smug satisfaction of being knowingly prepared or – in the case of mothers – anticipation of being appreciated properly.
However, since our business is Health & Safety, SHEilds have decided to offer something a little different for the day.
Being a new or expecting mother can often be a vulnerable position, particularly if it’s for the first time. Knowing what work related rights are available and how practices should change to accommodate you isn’t always immediately clear. As such, we’ve created an infographic collecting key advice on workplace Health and Safety for New Mothers along with a few additional tips for young children around the home.
New Mothers in the Workplace
New mothers in the workplace should be aware of their rights regarding special allowances afforded by Health and Safety legislation, the following being particularly important points:
- Did you know? – UK workplace regulations require employers to reasonably provide suitable rest facilities for new and expecting mothers to rest or lie down.
- Time out – Regulations also entitle pregnant women to more frequent rest breaks during work; you should agree on the timing of these with your employer.
- Controlling risks – Workplace risk assessments must account for specific risks to new and expectant mothers, including movement, posture, vibration, shocks, loud noises, radiation sources, chemical agents, sources of stress and travel arrangements. If you feel any of the latter is putting you or a pregnancy at increased risk the matter should be raised with management immediately.
- Maternity discrimination – The UK’s 2010 Equality Act forbids discrimination against women who are pregnant or have recently given birth. The law forbids unfavourable treatment related to the latter and demands that any medical advice from your GP or midwife is taken into account regarding working conditions.
Health and Safety for Young Children
As any new mother knows younger children can be very unpredictable, inviting their own set of risks into the home. Much as the workplace requires considerate control systems to reduce risks and remove hazards, similarly health and safety for young children may also benefit from a similar approach:
- Rules & limits – Just as children in the 2-5 year age range are figuring out skills and limitations new parents may struggle to find a balance between care and freedom. This will inevitably be a learning experience. Establishing basic rules and enforcing them with your child is a good place to start with safety. No one can supervise literally 100% of the time so clearly highlighting household hazards and safe practices sets the groundwork for keeping children safe through development.
- Preparing the home – Locking away toxic cleaning products and covering electric sockets only takes a critical eye and a moments effort. Treat child proofing your home as if it were a professional risk assessment, prevention is better than cure and removing the lead in to an accident early will save you stress further down the line.
- Your health matters – While this point may seem blindingly obvious, it can be surprisingly easy to lose sight of during stressful moments of childcare. Mother’s Day is a timely reminder that you matter too, a parent whose health is in jeopardy may struggle to provide care and stress can be a catalyst for serious safety mistakes. If you’re feeling rundown or have a serious health concern never be afraid to speak with a doctor or independent charity for advice on physical and mental well-being.
With all that said, SHEilds wishes you all a very happy Mother’s Day.