WHS PCBUs, workers and officers: Fact sheet
Under the work health and safety (WHS) laws, effective from 1 January 2012, the term 'employers' was replaced by 'persons conducting a business or undertaking' (PCBU) and 'employees' was replaced by 'workers'.
Who should read this?
This fact sheet should be read by PCBUs, officers and workers.
A PCBU conducts a business or undertaking alone or with others. The business or undertaking can operate for profit or not-for-profit. The definition of a PCBU focuses on the work arrangements and the relationships to carry out the work. In addition to employers, a PCBU can be a corporation, an association, a partnership or sole trader.
A volunteer organisation which employs any person to carry out work is considered a PCBU. Householders where there is an employment relationship between the householder and the worker are also considered a PCBU.
You are not considered to be a PCBU if you:
- are engaged solely as a worker or an officer
- are an elected member of a local authority
- are a volunteer association
- are a strata title body corporate responsible for common areas used only for residential purposes
A worker is anyone who carries out work for a PCBU, such as:
- an employee
- a contractor or sub-contractor
- an employee of a contractor or sub-contractor
- an employee of a labour hire company
- an apprentice or trainee
- a student gaining work experience
- an outworker
- a volunteer.
You can also be a PCBU and a worker if you carry out work for another PCBU.
An officer is a person who makes decisions, or participates in making decisions, that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of a business or undertaking and has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the business or undertaking. If a person is responsible only for implementing those decisions, they are not considered an officer.
Partners of a partnership are not officers but are PCBUs. An officer of a PCBU must exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with their duties under the WHS legislation.
You are considered to be an officer if you are:
- an officer within the meaning of section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001
- an officer of the Crown within the meaning of section 247 of the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011
- an officer of a public authority within the meaning of section 252 of the WHS Act.
For more information about PCBUs, officers and workers, visit workcover.nsw.gov.au.
Catalogue No. WC03063 WorkCover NSW 0715