A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is essentially any business doing work of any sort. PCBU’s are required to ensure the health and safety of workers, other contractors, or visitors who might be affected by work operations.
If you are the main contractor engaging contractors, then ‘workers’ will include not just your direct employees but all engaged workers including other PCBU’s employees.
When it comes to overlapping duties, businesses need to consult, coordinate and cooperate so they can all meet their shared responsibilities.
Some examples of duties you are likely to share include;
*These listed duties are not in their entirety and have been simplified for readability. This is not a full list of duties, it is important to make yourself familiar with health and safety duties. WorkSafe has useful information at WorkSafe.govt.nz, or talk to our Advisory team if you have any questions.
When might duties overlap?
Duties can overlap in a shared workplace where more than one business and its workers influence the work on-site. Another example of overlapping duties might be in a contracting chain, where contractors and subcontractors provide services to a head contractor (or client) and don’t necessarily share the same workplace.
For example, a builder calls a supplier for some material to be dropped off at site, they coordinate that a HIAB is the best way to deliver the goods. The builder will communicate via a Toolbox Meeting to the team that the materials will be delivered, to create a clear stable area for drop off, and to keep clear of the HIAB while offloading.
Understanding the extent of your duty
When there are overlapping duties on-site, how do you determine the extent of your duty?
You will need to consider the extent to which you can influence or control the risk in question.
This can be determined by considering the following:
Ultimately, the more influence and control you have over the site or workers, the more control you have over the risk – the more responsibility you have.
Health and safety doesn’t just start at the building site, it will span throughout the entire build cycle. It can start as far back as the concept and design, choice of materials, pricing, and scoping of the works.
Keeping people safe should always be the top priority on any construction site. And what’s more? Health and safety laws actually require this to be the case. Aligning yourself with other parties, and knowing what safety systems are in place is vital and could save lives.
What does this mean and how can you ensure that people are not harmed, and you are complying with your legal obligations? Here are some expectations:
WorkSafe also expects businesses to use sound contractor management processes. The following key steps should be followed by the Main Contractor:
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