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UK telecommunications legislation requires that the 999 operator is presented automatically with accurate and reliable location information for the caller in the form of their postal address.

At present this legislation applies only to public telephone networks and services.

However, there is an Ofcom endorsed Code of Practice that requires private telephone networks to be designed in such a way that the public telephone network can provide accurate and reliable location information for 999 calls that break-out of the private telephone network.

Although this is a voluntary Code of Practice there would undoubtedly be liability concerns if its recommendations had not been followed and as a result the response of the emergency services is delayed with serious consequences for the 999 caller.

In other words, the owners, operators and managers of PBX networks should follow the Code of Practice recommendations and ensure that accurate and reliable location information is delivered with 999 calls that originate from within their networks.

Health & Safety legislation also applies to 999 calling with a specific obligation to provide 999 access for employees and visitors to business premises.

If Health & Safety legislation requires organisations to provide 999 access then it can be assumed that the 999 service provided should be fit for purpose and should therefore provide accurate and reliable location information.

There is also a general Health & Safety obligation to identify risks and take reasonable steps to minimise those risks.

Delivering misleading or inaccurate 999 location information from a workplace phone system is clearly a Health & Safety risk since it could cause a delay in the response of the emergency services.

Employers therefore have an obligation to take steps to minimise that risk by deploying available systems and services to ensure that reliable and accurate location information is delivered to the emergency services when a 999 call is made from their premises.

Otherwise, there is risk that the employee will suffer unnecessarily and the business could be subject to corporate liability sanctions.