ARE YOU AN EMPLOYER? DO YOU KNOW WHAT A PCBU IS?
Across Australia there is a new term which is going to become common for business owners, managers and employers.
A ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU) is a legal term under WHS laws for individuals, businesses or organisations that are conducting business. A person who performs work for a PCBU is considered a worker.
Types of PCBUs can include:
- public and private companies
- partners in a partnership
- sole traders and self-employed people
- government departments and authorities
- associations if they have one or more employees
- local government councils
- independent schools
These obligations include:
- safe systems of work
- safe use of plant, structures and substances
- adequate facilities for the welfare of workers
- notification and recording of workplace incidents
- adequate information, training, instruction and supervision
- compliance with requirements under the Work Health and Safety Regulation
- effective systems for monitoring the health of workers and workplace conditions
- a safe work environment
- maintain the premises used for accommodation for workers, if required
A PCBU has further obligations if involved in specific kinds of activities like:
- the management and control of workplaces, or fixtures, fittings or plant at workplaces
- the design, manufacture, import or supply of plant, substances or structures
- installation, construction or commissioning of plant or structures.
As a PCBU you must also consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBUs if you share duties.
Primary duty of care
As a PCBU you have a primary duty of care to ensure workers and others are not exposed to a risk to their health and safety.
You owe this duty of care when as a PCBU you:
- direct or influence work carried out by a worker
- engage or cause to engage a worker to carry out work (including through sub-contracting)
- have management or control of a workplace
The term PCBU is going to become a common term for employers in the future.
If you are a PCBU must also ensure that the health and safety of others is not put at risk from work done as part of the business.
So now that you know what a PCBU is, you’d better make sure that you are taking action to comply with the requirements of a PCBU.
For more information you should refer to various Work Safe or Workcover websites.
Here is one for Queensland. https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/
Author: Bruce Coudrey
Director of Benchmark Business Sales & Valuations