What is a PCBU?

In occupational health and safety terms, A PCBU is a person conducting a business or undertaking.  This includes an individual or organisation and someone managing a company, association or partnership.

A PCBU has a duty of care to provide for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of workers and others within a workplace.  Workers also have a duty of care to take reasonable care for their own health and safety.

The PCBU’s duty includes a duty to manage psychological hazards in the workplace.  Psychological hazards include harassment.  To deal with this, some of the things PCBU’s need to have in place include psychological health practices discussed at worker induction; relevant instruction, training and supervision; and complaints process for workers to raise health issues at the workplace with the PCBU.

PCBUs cannot contract out their safety obligations or transfer responsibility to another person.  This means PCBUs engaging expert contractors to do a job need to ensure the contractor has adequate systems and procedures to ensure the job is done safely.

NT WorkSafe is the regulator responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance. Inspectors can enter a workplace, with or without prior warning and can inspect, examine and make inquiries at the workplace.  Inspectors can copy and retain documents, and seize evidence.

Subject to certain matters, a person is not excused from answering a question or providing information or a document because they think it will incriminate them or expose them to a penalty.

Enforcing compliance can take the form of an improvement notice, and there is a large penalty for businesses who do not comply with these notices.    Inspectors can also issue prohibition notices if they reasonably believe that an activity is occurring at a workplace that involves a serious risk.