The Health and Safety Executive has warned employers to identify and assess health risks that might result from the millennium bug, or face legal action.

The HSE has announced plans for a number of inspections and publicity initiatives this year to ensure employers are aware of the potential risk to health and safety from the year 2000 millennium bug.

HSE deputy director-general David Eves said: "Where there is a potential risk to health and safety, employers had better be able to demonstrate readiness to identify and deal with the possible consequences of the year 2000 problem, or inspectors will demonstrate their readiness to take legal action." Eves said that the HSE would be focusing its efforts on small and medium-sized companies.

The Construction Industry Board has also formed a working group to develop a joint industry/government campaign of action to raise awareness of the millennium bug.

The move follows claims made by construction minister Nick Raynsford that construction companies that believe their computer systems are fully compliant are still not totally prepared for the potential difficulties.

The group will be chaired by CIB deputy chairman Christopher Vickers.