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Health and Safety at Work Act 2014 - the PCBU

Published 11 Oct 2015

Duty holders, Officers and the PCBU

A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ (PCBU). The PCBU will be the primary duty holder, whose duties will replace those of employers, principals and people in control from the previous Act. The term PCBU is deliberately wide in definition to reflect modern organisations and complex business practices. In most cases a PCBU will usually be a business entity, such as a company rather than an individual person.  A person might be a PCBU if they are a sole trader or a self-employed person.

The new Act also introduces the idea of responsible ‘Officers’.

Officers include directors, people occupying positions similar to directors in an entity, and other people with substantial decision making responsibilities in the business. The intention being to encompass all parties involved and responsible in making significant decisions.

You’re not considered a PCBU if you are:

  • a householder where you engage or employ someone solely to do residential work on or in your home. But a householder may also be a PCBU where they operate a business from their home.
  • a volunteer association (if it's for a community purpose and none of the volunteers have employees)
  • employed or engaged solely as a worker or an officer (for example a company director) of the business or undertaking

The underlying rules and definitions have been laid down and passed under the new Act which comes into force in April 2016.

We're all now waiting to see what regulations get defined and implemented. This will provide us with the nuts and bolts of what will be expected from a systematic compliance point of view.