Strata title and body corporate
Generally, if a strata title, body corporate, or owners’ corporation is only responsible for common areas used only for residential purposes, it is not a person conducting a business or undertaking in relation to the common areas and so is excluded from the PCBU duties under work health and safety laws.
However, this changes if the body corporate employs a worker.
Usually too, if common areas are used as a mix of residential and commercial purposes, work health and safety laws will apply.
When a body corporate is an employer
As soon as a strata title body employs someone to carry out a job, they become an employer and have a duty to ensure the health and safety of the workers they engage.
This means that if work is done on the common area, then the Work Health and Safety Act applies.
An example of when a strata title body corporate becomes an employer would be when it employs a worker to mow the front lawn (remembering that contractors are not employees). That front lawn would become the workplace where the strata title body has health and safety responsibilities.
Volunteer officers of body corporate
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 health and safety obligations when you have workers on site, if those workers are employees. If they are not employees, then the exception in section 7(2) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation will apply and the owners corporation will not be a PCBU.
However, volunteer officers cannot be prosecuted for failure to comply with health and safety duty under the work health and safety legislation.
Contact 13 10 50 for advice about your responsibilities.