Pregnancy and biological factors
These guidelines apply to pregnant employees and students who are working in environments with biological factors, and their responsible supervisors.
Norsk versjon - Gravide og biologiske faktorer
Information for pregnant employees/students #
Pregnant employees/students have to be particularly aware of all labelling in the facilities in which they work, and whether they can be exposed to biological factors. During pregnancy, the foetus is well protected against most infections that their mother can be exposed to, but there are some exceptions.
See also the general guidelines about pregnancy during work or studies, accommodation, leave, etc.
Information for supervisors #
If a pregnant employee or student has tasks where she is in danger of infection, and the infection in question can lead to foetal harm, the employer is obliged to actively accommodate the tasks to avoid the employee being exposed to these risks.
As a supervisor, you are responsible for carrying out a risk assessment and initiating any necessary measures identified in the assessment.
The pregnant employee/student's own view of the situation should also be part of the assessment of the working conditions. If the pregnant employee/student wants alternative tasks or a relocation, the employer should comply with these wishes when possible.
See also the general guidelines about risk assessment, accommodation, leave, etc.
Risk assessment #
According to the Regulation of the performance of work § 6-1 (in Norwegian), the unit must carry out risk assessments before scheduling activities. The risk assessment should be made based on all available information, particularly:
- Possible biological factors in the workplace
- Which toxic, allergic or other harmful substances the biological factors are linked to.
- Which infection risk groups the biological factors belong to.
- Information about disease caused by the biological factors that the pregnant employee/student can contract during work, including infectious, allergic or toxic.
- Recommendations about whether special safety measures should be initiated to protect pregnant employees/students when they are, or can be exposed to biological factors in their working environment.
- The probability that health damage to pregnant employees/students will be caused by biological factors.
- Knowledge about the direct connection between a pregnant employee/student's disease and their work.
Biological factors and risks during pregnancy #
Pregnant employees/students should not work with biological factors in infection risk groups 2, 3 or 4.
Examples of biological factors that can infect the foetus during pregnancy or infect the baby during and after birth:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Chickenpox (varicella)
Other factors such as rubella and toxoplasmosis can harm the foetus. The employer must make sure that employees with hazardous occupations (e.g. employees in kindergartens/schools) are tested for immunity to chickenpox, toxoplasmosis and parvovirus (erythema infectiosum).
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are primarily transmitted "blood to blood". HIV can be transmitted in the same way. Infection transmission can occur by the virus entering the blood through punctures, fresh skin wounds and sores.
- Work environment before, during and after pregnancy (in Norwegian) – Guidelines from the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
NTNU regulations #
- Pregnancy at NTNU
- Risk assessment of possible exposure to biological factors (in Norwegian) – Regulation of the performance of work, chapter 6, § 6-1
- Classification of biological factors (in Norwegian) – Regulation of values for implementation of measures and boundary values for physical and chemical factors in the working environment, and infection risk groups for biological factors, chapter 6, § 6-1, appendix 2
Approved by the Director of HSE – 29. august 2014 – HMSRV5103E – ePhorte 2014/.....