Your Comprehensive Guide to Overlapping Duties

In the world of construction, its common for duties and health and safety responsibilities to overlap. This can be managed simply, you just need to be organised, proactive and ready to collaborate with everyone on site.

The role of the business owner 

Business owners are required to manage the risk to health and safety of workers, other contractors or any visitors who might be affected by worksite operations.

On-site this means there can be a lot of overlapping duties, so the main contractor is responsible for coordinating with other businesses/trades/subcontractors so they can all meet their combined responsibilities. See the image below:

Venn diagram of your H&S duties and their H&S duties with overlapping in the middle


What are overlapping duties?

Duties can overlap in a shared workplace where more than one business and its workers influence the work on-site. There can be overlapping duties when business and workers do not share a workspace, see image below. 

Client, contractor and Subcontractor duties all combine into overlapping duties

An example of overlapping duties when not sharing a workspace is in a contracting chain, where contractors and subcontractors provide services to a main contractor (or client) for a project but  don’t necessarily share the same worksite.

The 3 C’s are here to help with overlapping duties!

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, planning ahead and identifying any underlying health and safety issues, risks and methods of controlling these risks around the work being carried out. Consultation could require discussions around:

  • What work activities are being carried out, how and by who
  • How much influence and control each business has over the workplace (eg. contracts/written agreements)
  • Who will manage what and how (eg. notifying incidents)
  • What systems will be put in place to monitor compliance (eg. reviewing the site, how often and who by)
  • What ongoing communication looks like between themselves and between the workers (eg. toolbox meetings/newsletters/points of contact)


This simply means working together and sharing information. Putting in place a system for managing and controlling risk in accordance with any ground rules laid down during the consultation process.


Making sure everything is working together as it should. Coordinating on what systems or processes will be implemented and how to control the 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, and effectively manage health and safety risks.

The benefits

What may seem like a hassle at first, is actually a huge benefit to on-site operations. For example 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. What’s more, health and safety law actually requires 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 you can contact one of the HazardCo team today.

We’ve released some handy new tools to make managing your contractors and their overlapping duties really simple. Project Plus unlocks the HazardCo app for everyone to use on site , so your contractors can create and submit site reviews, toolbox talks and more. And the new pre-qualification tools included in the Complete plan will help with the heavy lifting when it comes to checking your contractors health and safety is up to scratch.

If you are a contractor and you have questions on how to best work with other businesses or the process you should follow, have a look at our working with other businesses blog.