on hosts for fire safety By Richard Matthews Licensees will face increased responsibilities for fire safety if new Government proposals go ahead. A consultation document which aims to reform existing fire safety legislation applying to buildings, including pubs, is designed to "simplify, rationalise and consolidate" the law by bringing together "scattered and sometimes inconsistent" legislation. It is proposed to implement the planned changes from spring 2004, subject to the outcome of the consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny. The plan is to create one simple fire safety regime for workplaces. This would be risk-assessment based with responsibility for fire safety resting with the property's owner or the person responsible for the premises. It is designed to give greater protection to the people inside the building who might be affected by a fire. There would also be a duty to maintain fire precautions required under building regulations which are for the use and protection of the fire brigade. The trade has until 22 November to give its response. Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations chief executive Tony Payne said the proposals would put more emphasis on licensees carrying out proper risk assessments. "We encourage our members to do this anyway as part of our health & safety advice and train their staff appropriately in fire safety procedures," he said. "They need to get staff to sign that they have received such training in order to cover themselves. "At present there are numerous parties and different organisations involved in fire safety including environmental health officers, and if this proposed legislation brings everything together and simplifies things then I would broadly welcome it.