Employers should start thinking about new fire safety responsibilities which come into force in October or face the risk of prosecution.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 means any employer responsible for "any premises in England and Wales where people gather" will have a duty to ensure the safety of everyone who uses their premises and those in the immediate vicinity who may be at risk if there is a fire.
The legislation covers nearly every type of building, structure and open space except for private homes and individual flats in a block or house, although communal areas will be affected.
Anyone responsible for premises must carry out a fire safety risk assessment by 1 October 2006. The Fire and Rescue Service will carry out inspections and failing to comply with the order may lead to a fine or up to two years imprisonment.