Even though most jobs are quite safe, some assignments may be less so during pregnancy. What if we believe our position puts us at risk?
Most jobs are safe, even during pregnancy. In addition, simple small adjustments can sometimes make us feel more comfortable in the performance of our tasks. That being said, some women have no choice but to be transferred to another position, or even to stop working altogether, during pregnancy.
Unless you have a specific condition that could cause complications or termination of pregnancy, most jobs are completely safe. In fact, it is believed that it is more the woman who will be affected, and not the fetus, which is in a well-protected environment. For example, fatigue can be a nuisance for working women, especially in the first trimester. It is also recommended that pregnant women sleep at least an hour more than usual. Some will therefore decide to reduce their office hours, but this option is obviously notoffered to all. If you feel that extreme fatigue is preventing you from performing your duties properly, talk to your employer. Perhaps he could reassign you to other tasks while you regain your strength? In addition, stress during pregnancy can affect both the mother and the fetus and it may be best to limit stressful situations, in life and in the office.
Pregnancy at risk
Unless your work involves physical risks (stuntwoman, top athlete), rest assured: if you're safe, baby is too. However, you may have to change a few things or take special care during your pregnancy if, in the context of your job, these situations apply to you:
- you have to stand for a long time;
- you have to lift, push or pull heavy objects;
- you work with x-rays;
- you are exposed to a lot of noise;
- it is very hot in your work environment;
- you are around animals, young children or sick people;
- you work long hours without breaks.
If you find yourself in one or more of these situations, your job may be considered risky. You could then be eligible for the CNESST program For Safe Maternity.
For a safe motherhood, a prevention program from the CNESST, aims to keep pregnant workers or breastfeeding workers safe in their jobs. In fact, under the Act respecting occupational he alth and safety, a pregnant or breastfeeding worker has the right to work in an environment that poses no danger to her; if necessary, it can immediately be assigned to other tasks that do not include one.
Most of the time, it is possible to protect the mother and child, while allowing the woman to remain professionally active. In order to ensure the safety and physical integrity of the worker, as well as her he alth, the employer must therefore assign her to new tasks, or change some aspects of the position she already occupies. If this redefinition of tasks proves impossible, the worker is placed on preventive withdrawal and will receive compensation from the CNESST.
During your first appointment with your doctor, he will ask you a lot of questions, including about your work. If you have any concerns, now is the time to discuss them with him. Explain your working conditions and your fears about your pregnancy. You must then describe your work environment, the tasks you must perform, the repetitive movements you make, the postures you must adopt, the weights to be lifted, the pace of work, the products used or breathed, etc. If he deems that your positionentails certain risks for you and your child, he will then complete the Certificate for preventive withdrawal and reassignment of pregnant or breastfeeding workers.
When approved by the doctor in charge of the he alth services of the medical institution, a copy of the certificate is given to the employer, and the other to the CNESST. If a new assignment is found for the worker, and she is able to perform the related tasks, she must accept it. If the position cannot be changed, the pregnant worker can stop working. The CNESST will decide on the admissibility of the request, by speaking with the employer and the worker.
Recourse against the CNESST
If you disagree with a CNESST decision, you have 90 days to request a review. If your new tasks still aren't right for you and you feel they could put you or your child at risk, talk to your doctor again. In addition, know that at any time, if you have communication problems with your employer, you can contact the Commission des normes, de l'économie, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail..