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no risk assessment

(19 Posts)
ladyofshallots Fri 10-Jul-09 16:48:57

Already posted this elsewhere, but thought I might get some helpful responses here.

Am 24 weeks pregnant and feeling a bit ignored at work. Am a teacher, but still doing break and lunch duty(in an area where boys play football)and have no classroom. Have been told I will have a risk assessment, but this was a month ago and not heard back yet.

In September I am timetabled to be teaching in different classrooms around the school although I will be heavily pregnant by then and having to go up and down stairs carrying books. I will also be in the corridor with pupils pushing and shoving on the way to lessons.

I raised this issue and was told that my head of department had been asked to ensure equal distribution of classrooms, but have not found out if anything has been done yet. I will be full time and working up to my due date.

readyfornumber2and3 Fri 10-Jul-09 17:15:31

Is this your 1st by any chance?

Im not really sure exactly what you expect the school to do about the fact you have to walk down a corridor!!
Fair enough you shouldnt be lugging masses of books around but surely the rest isnt a problem!

A risk assesment will cover things like the kind of chair you sit in (back support) and routine breaks (which you get anyway) handling of chemicals (no problem unless you are a chemistry teacher) etc

Being heavily pregnant isnt that much fun but unless you are suffering from complications such as SPD you will still be capable of going up and down stairs.

Sorry but think you are being a being precious about the whole thing and I say that as a women 33 weeks pregnant with twins and has a very active 3yo!!

MIAonline Fri 10-Jul-09 17:20:09

The point is though, that they are meant to do a risk assessment and they haven't. It may transpire that nothing can be done, but at the very least, the issues should be looked at.

You will probably find, that very little is changed, but they should at least follow procedures. IME, they rarely do complete a risk assessment.

ladyofshallots Fri 10-Jul-09 17:23:17

No, it is my third! I know I have to walk down a corridor, but trying to rush from an upstairs classroom to a downstairs classroom in five minutes between lessons is quite stressful. I don't mind going up and down stairs, but doing it all day everyday is going to add to my tiredness. I have two toddlers and don't drive, so am well used to walking.

ladyofshallots Fri 10-Jul-09 17:31:46

Also, a couple of teachers have actually been hit by the football in the area where I do lunch duty, one so hard she had to go home in tears. Am I 'precious' to think this is an obvious risk?

ladyofshallots Fri 10-Jul-09 17:56:37


MIAonline Fri 10-Jul-09 17:58:07

You have the right to discuss this with your SMT, there may be ways to reduce risk, even if they can't eradicate it completely. I.e you may be able to supervise a different area when on duty.

They should at least look at it. Go in and ask why it hasn't been completed yet.

readyfornumber2and3 Fri 10-Jul-09 18:02:37

I agree that going up and down stairs isnt ideal but its not really a risk, You said that you have already raised this issue so you need to wait and see how fair the classroom distribution is and then question it if it will be a problem.

WRT the footballs then obviously you have the right to request not to be put in that situation but surely if it is a risk to non-pregnant women aswell then it is something that should be assessed in general by the school and the pupils involved need to be spoken to?

If you feel that a risk assessment needs to be done then you need to put pressure on your boss and dont let him fob you off as you are legally entitled to one. I agree that you should be able to work in a safe environment but think you are expecting drastic changes that will probably not come about.

MIAonline Fri 10-Jul-09 18:06:10

It may also be a risk to non pregnant women, but it is obviously a greater risk to a pregnant one, hence the need for a risk assessment for pregnant women.

PerfectPrefect Fri 10-Jul-09 18:12:11

The biggest issue here is that her employer has the legal obligation to do a risk assessment when a woman discloses a pregnancy and this hasn't been done.

When the risk assessment has been done there may be control measures would could put in to reduce the risk, and would be dependant onteh risks found and the severity/likelyhood of those risks occuring.

ladyofshallots Fri 10-Jul-09 18:32:20

I actually think that having to rush from classroom to classroom in between lessons at the same time as all the pupils could be a risk, as I could easily be knocked or pushed in the rush.

I have already requested the risk assessment and it has actually already been done for other pregnant women in the school, but not for me, so I am getting annoyed with their lack of care now.

crumpette Fri 10-Jul-09 21:18:13

I haven't had a risk assessment but it's only early on in my pregnancy and I only sit at a desk all day, not much hazardous activity there!
I work as a trainee solicitor and I really do feel that you aren't being precious, you really do need a risk assessment and it's not just that there are risks, but there is a legal obligation to do regular risk assesments and you are entitled to this.
Do you belong to the NUT/teachers union? They will have a lot of relevant advice and experience so maybe now would be a good time to join.

I wouldn't think you were being unreasonable to request a fixed classroom where you stay and your books stay, and to be exempt from break duty at your stage of pregnancy.

ladyofshallots Fri 10-Jul-09 21:33:10

Thanks Crumpette, I was starting to worry I was being unreasonable. I don't even mind if I don't have a fixed classroom (although that would obviously be ideal) as long as I am in the same room for longer blocks of time rather than a different one every lesson. There are other teachers in my department who are not pregnant but have a fixed classroom, including one who is only part time.

Will look into what the unions say and try to be assertive in my request for a risk assessment.

I have been reluctant to assert my rights during this pregnancy as it has been made clear to me that I have greatly inconvenienced my boss ( he actually told me I had put him in a difficult position) as I had agreed to come back to work full time before finding out I was pregnant. I have not had a single day off work, even when I had bleeding in the early stages, as I did not want to inconvenience anyone further.

ladyofshallots Fri 10-Jul-09 21:41:48

Btw, my OP may have been confusing. I of course have absolutely no objections to the fact that I have to walk down the corridor - I just meant that if I have to be on the corridor with all the pupils in between lessons I will get barged into with heavy schoolbags etc. If I had a room this movement between lessons would be minimised. I didn't mean to imply that I am too delicate to walk down a corridor!

Southwind Fri 10-Jul-09 22:53:31

Hi ladyofshallots

I do not think you are being unreasonable grin

Your employers, by law, have to do a risk assesment. Even if they cannot make all the changes you describe.

The only thing I would add is, and this is because I am in the middle of a legal process with my employers over this, did you inform them in writing about your pregnancy either by letter or email? Because I have found out in my legal process that a verbal conversation is not enough and they could argue this (should it come to it)

Hope they get their fingers out soon wink

xfingerscrossedx Sat 11-Jul-09 15:06:26


I am also a secondary teacher and I do not think you are being "precious" at all! Some people clearly do not understand what schools are really like and shouldn't judge you! I would definately complain about break duty position... you have to put yourself and your baby first. I am a Head of Department at my school and if I knew that a pregnant colleague was concerned about something like this I would be doing everything in my power to support you!

I work in a rough school, where kids are frequently fighting and generally boisterous when moving around school. I have also twice been injured by pupils (accidentally, but once ending in a hospital visit) and am genuinely scared about what will happen(only 10 weeks at the moment)!

I think that many schools assume too much of their staff full stop. Therefore, there seem to be few concessions for pregnant women, who are still expected to put themselves in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations. I would speak again to your Head of Department, your personnel manager and if necessary your Headteacher.

trellism Sat 11-Jul-09 15:28:28

I second the suggestion that you should speak to your union. Your employer is obliged to ensure that your workplace is as safe as is reasonably possible. If you have a condition that makes certain things more hazardous then they are obliged to do whatever is necessary (within reason) to ensure your condition is accommodated and that you are safe.

I do not think it is unreasonable for you to be exempt from break duty in the playground, if being hit by a flying ball is a genuine hazard, and it sounds like it is.

Southwind, I don't think that argument will get very far. Was the conversation minuted or recorded in any way?

ladyofshallots Sat 11-Jul-09 15:38:15

Thanks for the advice - I will definitely try and push for something to be done in September if nothing has changed.

I agree that working in a school is different to how you might think and even though I work in a nice school, pupils on the corridor will not show consideration for my pregnancy.

muuuum1983 Sat 11-Jul-09 23:02:11

Hi there! I'm 27 weeks pregnant and have been having problems with my back. I am only small framed and have a bump which is all front and seems to be affecting my back. I had to leave work and had three days sick leave 2 weeks ago as I was in pain. I let my employer know I was pregnant early on and although they keep booking risk assesments, the man who conducts these keeps cancelling them! The nature of my job means I have to lean and stretch a lot and this needs to be ammended. I have another booked for tuesday, keep ur fingers crossed the man turns up!
I agree it does make you feel ignored at work, when you wok so hard and you are afraid you may injure yourself! I would also feel uncomfortable with the possiblity of being pushed. Maybe put something in writing. That will be my next step.

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