Overall risk level (when all controls are in place)
Journalists and programme makers can visit areas or individual locations in the UK and internationally where disease has occurred / is occurring – including outbreaks e.g. flu and isolated cases e.g. rabies - to provide information to the general public on disease based stories and events to record material for broadcast. Our staff are not interacting directly with patients in care but will be interviewing interested persons around the issues potentially including specialists, politicians, medical staff, relatives, neighbours, emergency services personnel, farm workers and the general public.
If location at which the activity takes place is in a HE or travel advisory area, further risk assessment and consultation with BBC Safety must take place.
Key crew / team
Roles, responsibilities, competencies
Individuals working at News locations are responsible for acting safely at all times in regard to their own safety, that of their colleagues and the general public. Including Producers, Directors, Broadcast Journalists, Camera Journalists, Researchers, Correspondents, Presenters, Technical support staff and other staff.
Human infection – individual cases or outbreaks of serious infection
Follow guidance and recommendations of local medical authorities or the World Health Organisation. Advice can also be obtained from your Safety adviser or BBC Occupational Health. Current pandemic advise will be listed on myRisks.
Ensure vaccinations and disease prophylaxis is up to date.
Minimise time spent in the area.
Avoid contact with body fluids (saliva, blood, urine, faeces), human tissue.
Be assiduous with hand washing/cleaning and personal hygiene.
Avoid any contaminated water or food by not eating in the infected area and drinking only bottled water.
Decontaminate broadcast equipment and kit with a fast acting antimicrobial wipe such as Meliseptol from TVC Safety Stores. Call 020857 67568.
Monitor your own health and report to BBC Occupational Health and/or your own GP if unwell.
Check with your safety adviser / safety equipment stores if visiting a plague or area of endemic infection and take your own protective equipment as recommended e.g. suitable masks, gloves and disposable clothing. All available from Safety Stores or from hub bureau. If necessary a list of protective equipment is available for local purchase. If equipment is not appropriate or available, plan story away from any direct risk of transmission.
Journalists and programme makers cover disease based stories and events to record interviews, vox pops, general views, activities of emergency services, military and medical / veterinary staff, farm workers, general public etc.
Animal disease – staff can act as a vector and spread infection outside the contaminated area
Treat potential cases in the same way as confirmed cases unless proven otherwise.
Follow specialist guidelines e.g. from DEFRA in UK.
Take protective safety kit and use it if in close proximity to potentially infected animals or contaminated areas..
Follow any instructions from the police or public health officials present at the scene. For example cordons, restriction zones, barriers and controls measures e.g. wheel wash at farm gates.
Broadcast equipment/kit should not be put down on the ground in case contamination from faeces or other animal body products are picked up.
Wear easily cleanable footwear - either disposable waterproof overshoes (from Safety Equipment Stores), or Wellington boots which should be wiped/rinsed off before leaving the scene/getting back into cars etc.
Overshoes to be disposed of before leaving the scene (follow local guidance or discard in a plastic bag & leave behind).
Pay strict attention to hygiene - wash hands with soap and water, or use anti-bacterial gel or wipes before leaving the site.
Limitations / restrictions:
A pre activity recce is not always practical; so teams must make additional ‘on the spot’ decisions when on location and tell the RO or deployer of increased risks and any new controls.
Existing ill health / pregnancy
People with susceptibility and at increased risk of disease e.g. immuno-compromised, in poor general health, with chronic or serious illnesses or pregnant should check with BBC Occupational Health before covering any disease outbreak / story.
Generic risk assessments covering disease outbreaks are often written by the safety team for large deployments. These can be found on ENPS or on the Safety Alert section of the MyRisks site. You can also check with the Safety Advice Line on:
Tel: 0464 / +44 (0) 870 411 0464 (09.00 to 18.00 – UK time)
Emotional trauma / stress
Think about any disturbing story lines and possible impact on mental health.
Discuss before deployment.
Carry out debrief with colleague or line manager after potentially traumatic event / exposure and further debriefs as needed.
Referral into BBC support systems: Occupational Health, HR and BUPA employee assistance line: 0800 269 616 or outside the UK: +44 20 9847 2690.
Action Plan: Communicate results of risk assessment through Journalism Safety Guide.