Duties of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking

The principles that apply to all duties in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 are:

  • a duty is not transferable
  • a person may have more than one duty
  • more than one person can have the same duty
  • risks are managed to ensure they are eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Primary duty of care

The person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has a primary duty of care to ensure workers and others are not exposed to a risk to their health and safety.

A primary duty of care is owed by a PCBU when it:
  • directs or influences work carried out by a worker
  • engages or causes to engage a worker to carry out work (including through subcontracting)
  • has management or control of a workplace.
The PCBU must meet its obligations, so far as is reasonably practicable, to provide a safe and healthy workplace for workers or other persons by ensuring:
  • safe systems of work,
  • a safe work environment,
  • accommodation for workers, if provided, is appropriate,
  • safe use of plant, structures and substances,
  • facilities for the welfare of workers are adequate,
  • notification and recording of workplace incidents,
  • adequate information, training, instruction and supervision is given,
  • compliance with the requirements under the work health and safety regulation,
  • effective systems are in place for monitoring the health of workers and workplace conditions,
  • PCBUs must also have meaningful and open consultation about work health and safety with its workers, health and safety representatives and health and safety committees.
A PCBU must consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBUs with whom they share duties.

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By Sam Roberts,
Managing Director, Accredited Specialist (Commercial Litigation)

Sam Roberts