- It does not necessarily mean that there is always a risk in the workplace environment. The actual exposure is what is most important. It may be necessary for you to seek expert help from occupational health care, occupational and environmental medical clinics or any other form of occupational or medical expertise when assessing the risks. Infection prevention doctors should always be consulted when assessing the potential for infection. Do not delay in getting checked.
Risks to the work environment for pregnant or breastfeeding workers
You can find information on the risks that pregnant or breastfeeding workers may face by visiting our subject pages
Risks could be posed by biological substances. Other infections than rubella or toxoplasma should also be considered.
Pregnant workers may be at risk from working conditions that can lead to mental fatigue, extreme psychological stress, violence or intimidation. These topics are covered in detail on our pages.
Other factors that could pose risks include:
- Non-ionizing radiation and ionizing radiation;
- Chemical substances, including carcinogens and mutagens as well as reproductive or organ toxicants and mercury and mercury compounds;
- Certain processes in which carcinogens can be produced;
- Underground mining work.
Our regulations have established rules for occupational safety and health factors. These safety and health rules are strictly adhered to by pregnant and breastfeeding workers. Our rules are designed to make sure that everyone can work safely without being hurt or become ill.
Certain chemicals and other factors can be more dangerous to the foetus than for the mother. Special regulations prohibit certain types of work that could expose pregnant women to hazardous chemicals.
Pregnant and nursing workers are exempt from prohibited work (AFS 2007 :5). Learn more at Section 8: Lead Work. Pre-pregnancy exposure to lead can impact the risk. Lead can be stored within the bone.
Mothers-to-be (AFS 2007 :5) (Swedish), regulations
Other provisions concerning hazardous work for pregnant woman
There are many other provisions that apply to breastfeeding and pregnant workers who perform specific tasks.
Special rules for pregnant and nursing workers involved in ionizing radiation activities.
Refer to Chapter 4, Section 7-11 of the Radiation Protection Act (2018.396). Pregnant women have the right to be relocated to reduce radiation dose.
Night work is not considered to be a greater risk for a woman during pregnancy. Some pregnancy disorders can be triggered by continuous night work that causes physical or psychological stress to the worker. Night work may be prohibited if a doctor has given the woman a certificate stating that it is dangerous. If possible, the pregnant woman must be moved to daytime work.
It is the employer’s responsibility to conduct an individual risk assessment.
Employers must conduct an individual risk assessment of their workplace if any of the risk factors (listed in AFS 2007:5) are present. You must conduct a risk assessment as soon as you have been informed by the employee about her pregnancy.
You are responsible for risk assessments as part of your systematic work environment management (AFS2001:1). You will already be aware of the safety and health aspects of pregnancy risks when you face an individual risk assessment.
You may be able to get expert help from an occupational health clinic, or any other occupational or medical expertise, for the assessment.
Three stages will be used to prevent this. The pregnant worker must be able to stop working if it becomes impossible to eliminate risks or give the woman other tasks. Then, you must document the reasons why the woman was not able to eliminate risks or give her other tasks.
This form of leave requires women to be compensated under the General Insurance Act. A local health insurance fund will decide whether or not a pregnant allowance can be granted. You should complete the documentation if the woman has been examined by occupational health care experts or occupational and environment medical clinics.
You can find more information about the hazards in your work environment by clicking on the main risks. This also includes work that is not allowed for pregnant workers.
Preventive steps to keep pregnant women from going to work
Numerous studies have shown that pregnancy-related employment has a positive effect on your health. Women should continue to work as long as they can during pregnancy. Prevention can be done in three stages.
Step 1 – Changes in the Work Environment
Employers must make changes to the workplace to reduce exposure. These could include measures to reduce noise, stress, installation of lifting aids and replacement of hazardous substances with less dangerous substances. They also need to address air pollution. To create a safe work environment, each workplace must find solutions that are specific to their current circumstances.
Step 2: Relocation
The employer must transfer any work that is free from risk to the employee if it is impossible to make necessary changes to eliminate harmful exposure.
Step 3: Leave
The employer must change the work environment and give the pregnant woman other tasks. If this is not possible, the woman can’t stay at work as long as there are still risks.
This type of leave is covered by the National Insurance Act. A local health insurance fund will decide if a pregnant allowance can be granted.
The employer must explain why it is not possible to change the work environment or assign additional tasks to the pregnant women. Employers must continue to examine all options for improving the work environment. This will allow the woman to return to work.