Q: I notified my employer eight weeks ago that I am currently pregnant with my second child. Last week I tripped over some loose carpet in the office, winding myself badly and breaking my arm. At the hospital they were worried about the baby and insisted I had a scan. It was very frightening. My husband was furious and said my employers should have carried out a workplace risk assessment when I told them I was pregnant. Is this correct?
A: Employment regulations stipulate that an employer should make two risk assessments - a general one at the point when they employ women who are of child-bearing age, and a specific one when an employee gives notice of being pregnant. The employee should give notice of the pregnancy to the employer in writing and the employer should then carry out the risk assessment promptly. The second risk assessment should be done in collaboration with the expectant mother.
The accident you suffered was not the result of a pregnancy related risk. It does however appear that there has been a simple breach of Regulation 12 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations which requires that in so far as is reasonably practicable, every floor in a workplace and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace shall be kept free from obstructions and from any article or substance which may cause a person to slip, trip or fall.
If the carpet was loose it may be the case that your employer should have identified it as a risk and taken the necessary measures to secure it to the floor. This is therefore a case that you should seek advice about from a personal injury lawyer.