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Employers and businesses (and other PCBUs) have duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

The principles behind these duties are:

  • a duty is not transferable
  • a person may have more than one duty
  • more than one person can have the same duty
  • risks are managed to ensure they are eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable


If you’re an employer or business (or other PCBU) you have a primary duty of care to ensure your workers and others are not exposed to a risk to their health and safety.

A primary duty of care exists when you:

  • direct or influence work carried out by a worker
  • engage (or cause to engage) a worker to carry out work (including through subcontracting)
  • have management or control of a workplace

You must meet your obligations under the work health and safety laws by ensuring:

  • safe systems of work
  • maintain the premises used for accommodation for workers, if required
  • safe use of plant, structures and substances
  • adequate facilities for the welfare of workers
  • notification and recording of workplace incidents
  • adequate information, training, instruction and supervision
  • compliance with requirements under the Work Health and Safety Regulation
  • effective systems for monitoring the health of workers and workplace conditions
  • a safe work environment

You must also have meaningful and open consultation about work health and safety with your workers, health and safety representatives and health and safety committees.

You must consult, cooperate and coordinate with other employers or businesses (or other PCBUS) if you share duties.

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