Gotta catch ‘em all; Pokemon on your premises?

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18 Jul 2016

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Are people rushing around your premises playing Pokémon Go (whether staff or members of the public)? The latest craze in gaming could raise some health and safety concerns for your organisation.

What is Pokémon Go?

An ‘augmented reality’ game, Pokémon Go uses a smartphone’s GPS mapping and camera functions to search the surroundings for Pokémon, cartoony creatures that the player can capture, train and battle. The game appeals not only to young people but also to adults who grew up with the Pokémon franchise.

How do I prevent staff from behaving unsafely at work to catch Pokémon?

Croner has already been made aware of one tripping accident at work as a result of gameplay. Implementing a policy to stop staff from playing the game at work may be advisable, as has commonly been done for other workplace distractions like social media.

Why do members of the public keeping game playing here?

The game utilises real world locations as ‘Poké Stops’ (places where players can collect items to help them with their game) or ‘Gyms’ (places where players battle their Pokémon). These places will attract players who are keen to get their hands on new items or Pokémon. But how do you tell if your premises is a Poké Stop or Gym? It is best to check within the game itself.

Do I need to worry if I am a Poké Stop or Gym?

If you are open to the public you may see increased footfall - especially young people. While not a problem in and of itself, the fact that there may be an unexpected increase in young people on site (whose attention may be somewhat distracted by the game) may lead to a moderate increase in risk. Furthermore the game can be played 24/7 so premises owners should be aware that Pokémon hunters may even attempt to visit at night or weekends. Conscientious occupiers should already be aware of their responsibilities under the Occupier’s Liability Acts of 1957 and 1984 along with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. These Acts place duties of care upon occupiers towards anyone on their site, even trespassers.

I don’t want to be a Poké Stop!

Naturally some premises owners will not want to become a Poké Stop. Developers Niantic have a support site for the game which has a ‘Submit a request’ button that can be used to request removal of a Poké Stop or Gym site.

Is this just a fad or will it last?

Pokémon is one of the more enduring game franchises so Pokémon Go will be around for some time yet and it is likely that other developers will produce similar games in the future. For advice around health and safety in the workplace, please contact Croner on 0800 032 4088.

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