Definition of a PCBU: a person conducting a business or undertaking

A ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU) is a broad term used throughout work health and safety legislation to describe all forms of modern working arrangements, which we commonly refer to as businesses.

A person who performs work for a PCBU is considered a worker.

Types of PCBUs can include:

  • public and private companies
  • partners in a partnership
  • sole traders and self employed people
  • government departments and authorities
  • associations if they have one or more employees
  • local government councils
  • independent schools
  • cooperatives
  • universities.

As a PCBU you must meet your obligations, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of workers and other people like visitors and volunteers.

A PCBU has further obligations if involved in specific kinds of activities like:

  • the management and control of workplaces, or fixtures, fittings or plant at workplaces
  • the design, manufacture, import or supply of plant, substances or structures
  • installation, construction or commissioning of plant or structures.

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

As a PCBU you must also consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBUs if you share duties.

As a PCBU you have a primary duty of care to ensure workers and others are not exposed to a risk to their health and safety.

You owe this duty of care when as a PCBU you:

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