Your Comprehensive Guide to Overlapping Duties

When duties overlap in the world of construction, things have the potential to get a little complicated. But this can be managed simply – you just need to be organised, proactive and ready to collaborate effectively. 

The role of the PCBU

A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is essentially any business doing work of any sort. Businesses are required to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers, other contractors or visitors who might be affected by work operations.

When it comes to overlapping duties, their role is to coordinate with other businesses so they can all meet their combined responsibilities. 

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.

The 3 C’s

Consultation. Cooperation. Coordination. The 3 C’s are here to make overlapping duties that little bit easier. Especially for businesses. Let’s break down how and why:


The duty to consult means getting together and identifying any underlying issues, risks and methods of controlling risks. Consultation would also require discussions around:

  • what work activities are being carried out and by whom
  • the degree of influence and control each business has over the workplace
  • who will manage what and how
  • what systems will be put in place to monitor compliance


From the consultation comes cooperation. This simply means sharing information and working together to put in place systems for managing and controlling risk in accordance with any ground rules laid down during the consultation process.


And now for the grand finale – actually making sure everything works in cohesion. Businesses should be able to coordinate on what systems or protocols will be implemented and how they will be implemented to control risks.

It is important to note this isn’t about one business pushing all the duties on another. It’s about everyone involved working together to avoid duplication, or worse, health and safety risks.

The benefits

What may seem like a hassle at first, is actually a huge benefit to life on-site. An example of why this might be the case is certain contractors on-site will be better placed to identify risks that other contractors might not be aware of.  In other circumstances, cooperation could save on cost with businesses avoiding duplication. 

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. 

Seeking advice early on how you can help develop efficient strategies, and reading this article is the first step! To know more about safety on-site, contact one of the HazardCo team today.

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