Strata title body corporate

A strata title body corporate (or owners corporation) responsible for any common areas used only for residential purposes is generally excluded from the WHS laws, unless it employs a worker.

Where the common areas are mixed residential and commercial it is likely the WHS will apply.

It is important for members of strata title bodies corporate be aware that once they employ someone to carry out a job, then they become an employer (also called a PCBU) and they have a duty to ensure the health and safety of workers they engage, direct or influence. 

This means that if the work is done on the common area, then the WHS Act applies.

An example of when a strata title body corporate becomes an employer would be when it employs a person to mow the front lawn as an employee (contractors are not employees). That front lawn would become the workplace where the strata title body corporate has some WHS responsibilities.

If you are a volunteer officer of the body corporate you are expected to exercise due diligence to ensure the body corporate complies with its WHS obligations if you have workers on site, however volunteer officers cannot be prosecuted for failure to comply with health and safety duty under the WHS legislation.

There are a range of penalties (up to $3 million) if a corporation is found guilty of not following WHS laws.

All people must also take reasonable care of their own health and safety and take reasonable care that they don't do anything that would adversely affect the health and safety of others.  Importantly, if they are given an instruction by the employer or person carrying out a business they need to comply with that instruction as far as reasonably able.