The Pokémon Go craze that is sweeping the world has hit Australian workplaces, with a major logistics company issuing an all-sites warning for its employees not to play the game due to risks to health and safety.
Qube Logistics, which provides services covering road and rail transport and warehousing, advised staff in a national safety alert yesterday (July 12) it had “noticed” a number of employees and contractors playing the Pokémon Go game on their phone at work.
“There is a high risk of injury to employees/contractors who are not concentrating on hazards in the workplace, including potholes, debris on the ground, forklift activities etc,” it said.
The alert, signed off by national health and safety manager John Fletcher, directed staff that “effective immediately this practice must STOP” and “employees/contractors who continued to do so would be disciplined immediately”.
Pokémon Go is an “augmented reality” game launched last week that requires players to use their mobile phone to track down and capture virtual Pokémons in real-life locations.
Nintendo’s stock price jumped 25% since the game’s launch and analysts are predicting Pokémon Go’s popularity could soon rival social media phenomenon Twitter.
Pokémon Go an issue for ‘every company with young workers’: Qube
Workforce understands there was no specific incident or injury that prompted the Qube safety alert. A Qube spokesperson said the company had “strict rules banning the use of mobile devices in operational areas for obvious reasons”.
“[B]ut given the Pokémon Go phenomenon seemingly taking over the world at the moment, we thought it very important to remind everyone of our policy,” the spokesperson said.
“This craze is clearly an issue right now for every company with young employees.”
“In our case, we have reminded all employees that any distraction in areas where heavy machinery is operating presents a serious safety risk and will not be tolerated.”
Users even face jail
Since Friday (July 8) police have been issuing safety warnings to the public over their use of the game.
Yesterday (July 12) the NSW Justice Department warned Pokémon Go users could be heavily fined or even face jail time if they entered court rooms to look for “digital critters”.
(This story first ran in Workforce Daily, 20173, 13 July, 2016)
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