Pokémon no Go!

Published:  25 July, 2016

It can’t be denied that the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go has taken the country by storm. On the one hand, it is being praised for encouraging people to leave the comfort of their sofas and take some exercise, but on the other, it is being described as a health and safety nightmare waiting to happen.

Ian Hatherly, of Southalls, said: “As a health and safety consultancy we have already received a number of calls from concerned businesses regarding the app. Some clients, including builders’ merchants, have noticed an increase of people, mobile phone in hand, outside their premises. They put two and two together and after downloading the app for themselves realised the premises had become a PokéStop – a location where players can collect extra points, features, or Pokémon.

“For low risk businesses, such as retailers, Pokémon Go is being seen as a harmless tool to increase pedestrian movement into shops. However, for merchants, and other businesses with potentially hazardous areas on-site, this is a big concern as they have a duty to ensure the safety of members of the public on their sites.

“With busy merchant yards and delivery areas, regular vehicle movements and hazardous stock a serious risk is posed to players of the game. Businesses like this can’t allow people to wander off the street, totally unaware of the environment they are entering. Therefore, while the Pokémon Go craze continues, it is important that commercial businesses are aware of the potential risk it presents.”

If businesses are concerned about their premises being involved in the game, it is possible to stop the unwanted attention by requesting removal. Southalls recommends taking the following simple steps:

  1. Navigate to the Pokémon Go support page – you might need to sign in with a Google account
  2. Under ‘Gameplay questions’ click ‘Report an issue with a Gym or PokéStop’
  3. Now select ‘Request removal of a PokéStop or Gym’
  4. Fill out the form with as much detail as possible and hit submit.

Staff should be asked to be vigilant to keep an eye out for members of the public in yards and loading areas and, if required, escort them to a safe location.

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