High Risk Guide


Definitions and Requirements

Date: 09.11.2016     Last updated: 09.11.2016 at 16.07
Definitions and requirements of the High Risk Policy for those working in hostile environments and undertaking high risk activities


High Risk:  High Risk is defined by the BBC as work that carries a significantly higher than normal risk of death or serious injury as a consequence of operating in, or being part of:

Hostile Environments: A Hostile Environment is a country, region or specified area subject to war, insurrection, civil unrest, terrorism or extreme levels of crime, banditry, lawlessness or public disorder; or areas with extreme climate or terrain.

High Risk Events: A High Risk Event might be riots, civil disturbance or extreme public disorder, terrorist or armed criminal incidents such as hi-jacking or sieges, any event involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) substances, extreme climatic events and natural disasters such as hurricanes, severe floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. or outbreaks of serious diseases and pandemics. (Events will be designated as High Risk by the High Risk Team in discussion with News Group senior management)

High Risk Activities: High Risk Activities are investigations involving covert surveillance or filming and/or confrontation of terrorist, serious organised criminal, extremist or violent political groups.

Travel Advisory:  Travel Advisory Areas are countries that have specific safety or security risks not amounting to a Hostile Environment. Staff who are unfamiliar with the environment should take advice from either the High Risk team or the local bureau.

Key Requirements

Anyone undertaking, or commissioning high risk work, is required, as far as practicably possible, to: 

  • Seek information and advice from the High Risk Team.
  • Complete a written Risk Assessment and apply the necessary safety control measures. 
  • Ensure those involved have the right training and/or experience for the assignment. 
  • Identify and use appropriate safety equipment. 
  • Make adequate contingency plans and arrangements in case of emergency.
  • Obtain the appropriate level of management authorisation, and notify and coordinate all deployments with Newsgathering (the lead department for the coordination of all deployments to Hostile Environments).

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This site describes what the BBC does in relation to managing its health, safety and security risks and is intended for those who work directly for the BBC.

It is not intended to provide instruction or guidance on how third parties should manage their risks. The BBC cannot be held liable for how this information is interpreted or used by third parties, nor provide any assurance that adopting it would provide any measure of legal compliance. More information.

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