Sharing Health and safety Duties in Construction

Construction work involves many businesses and undertakings involved in the same task or activity (for example suppliers, contractors, and building owners). This means there may be multiple businesses that owe a duty to workers and other persons. 

There may be multiple people or businesses that are responsible for the duty of care to workers and others on-site. Therefore, more than one person can have the same duty. When it comes to sharing duties, all parties have responsibility. In these situations, all parties need to consult, coordinate and cooperate so they can all meet their shared responsibilities.

Some examples of duties you are likely to share include*:

  • Managing risk
    Identifying hazards, assessing, and controlling the risks. If the risk cannot be eliminated, minimise it. Regularly review your controls to ensure they are effective
  • Worker consultation, engagement, participation, and representation
    Ensure that workers are consulted. This involves sharing information, giving workers a reasonable opportunity to express views, and taking those views into account before making decisions on health and safety matters. Consultation may also occur through the builder talking to subcontractors and asking them to share information with the subcontractors’ workers and pass any feedback back to the builder. 
  • Information, Training, and Instruction
    Ensure that workers receive relevant information, training, and instruction to protect every individual from risks to their health and safety arising from construction work carried out. 
  • Notification
    If a notifiable event occurs, you must notify the Regulator as soon as you become aware of the event.
  • First aid
    Ensure that your workers have access to first aid equipment and trained first aiders. If you share a workplace with other businesses, you can coordinate sharing first-aid resources with them.
  • Emergency plans
    You have a duty to prepare, maintain and implement an emergency plan at your work. Consult, cooperate and coordinate with other businesses that you share overlapping duties with to coordinate emergency procedures.

What are some ways you can ensure that people are not harmed, and that you are complying with your legal obligations? 

  1. Set clear health and safety expectations and incorporate these into your agreements with contractors
  2. Ensure contractors have appropriate health and safety procedures in place
  3. Prepare a Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP) for the job and share it with all workers and contractors. A SSSP, also known as a WHS Management Plan or Health and Safety Coordination Plan, may be required by your relevant state/territory (based on a contract value or in the case of WA, the number of persons likely to be on-site)  
  4. Establish health and safety reporting requirements with your contractors. A great tool for this is to use the HazardCo App to complete SWMS, Risk Assessments, site reviews, Incident Reports, and more.
  5. Ensure site inductions take place. Communicate site rules and procedures to everyone who accesses the site. 
  6. Get workers to sign in and out of the site. This can be done via the HazardCo App by scanning the QR code located on your Hazard Board.
  7. Set up clear requirements for information sharing for the duration of the project
  8. Ensure that there is effective communication between all parties (e.g. Toolbox Meetings through the HazardCo App)
  9. Monitor your workers and/or contractors you engage


* This is not a full list of duties, it is important to make yourself familiar with health and safety duties for your relevant state/territory or talk to our Advisory team if you have any questions.

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