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Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act No. 75 of 1997)

Codes of Good Practice

Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and after the Birth of a Child


Schedule 2 : Ergonomic Hazards



What is the Risk

How to avoid the Risk

Physical and mental strain

Excessive physical or mental pressure may cause stress and give rise to anxiety and raised blood pressure during pregnancy.

Employees should ensure that hours of work and the volume and pacing of work are not excessive and that, where practical, employees have some measure of control over how their work is organised.Seating should be available where appropriate.Longer or more frequent rest breaks will help to avoid or reduce fatigue.


Physically strenuous work

Employees whose work is physically strenuous should b considered to be at increased risk of injury when pregnant or after the birth of a child.

Heavy physical exertion, including the lifting or handling of heavy loads, should be avoided from early pregnancy onwards.


Prolonged sitting or standing

Sitting or standing for long periods during pregnancy can have serious health consequences.Standing for long unbroken periods can result in complications during pregnancy such as deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, premature labour and even miscarriage.

Workstations should be adjustable to allow for necessary changes in posture.

Pregnant employees who sit for long periods should be provided with a proper chair with lumbar support rest to prevent lower back pain. A footrest could alleviate pain and discomfort in the case of both sitting and standing workers.

Pregnant employees who work in a stationary position should be given frequent rest breaks. Mobility during breaks should be encouraged to help prevent swelling of the ankles and improve blood circulation.

Where work organisation permits task rotation, this should be done to allow the worker to do tasks that involve standing, sitting and moving.