Women Workers: Prohibited Jobs

By Mahlet Mesganaw

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (the Ministry) has a registered directive i.e. Jobs that are Heavy or Hazardous to Health or Disturbs the Reproductive Health of Women Workers Directive No 42/2013(here after the Directive). On this directive there are lists of works that are prohibited for women or pregnant women or up to 6 month breast feeding women not to engage in.


The prohibited works include the following:
-mining, underground well or cave excavation;
-mixing, filling or palliating pesticide or herbicides;
-crushing or production of asbestos and asbestos compositions;
-spraying in agricultural plantations pesticides or herbicides or
any works that directly make women or pregnant or beast feeding women to engage with hazardous chemicals or chemical compositions that affect their health or reproductive health.


The Directive also attempts to limit weight mass in lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying for Women Workers.
-For activity using only hands, not more than 15 k.g if the work is continuous or 25 k.g if the work is not continuous.
-For activity using hands only but involves uphill climb or downhill, not more than 10 k.g. weight if the work is continuous or not more than 15 k.g if the work is not continuous.
– If the work involves a one-wheel cart, not more than 50 k.g.


Maximum Exposure Limit should be adhered to for women workers engaging in air borne chemical or radiation susceptible working environment such as iron melting works, electro-mechanical works, battery factories or radiation emitting works.


Annual health check up should be done for women workers engaged in
-works that are done Standing for long period;
-direct contact to bodily fluids or blood in medical institutions
-quarry works;
-asphalt tar boiling or spraying works in road construction;
-cleaning of waste containers, pipes or waste canals ;
-too cold or too hot place of work due to the work behavior and
-works that involve vibration.


The employer is responsible to implement the directive. The employer is obliged to shift women or pregnant workers in the fields of prohibited works to other safe positions without reducing their post or salary. More so the employer should report to the Ministry once every quarter of a year.

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