Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking
A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is a key term in South Australia's work health and safety laws and encompasses a broad range of modern work relationships and business structures: someone operating a business or undertaking for profit or not-for-profit, whether alone or with others. The definition of a PCBU focuses on work arrangements and the relationships involved in carrying out that work.
A PCBU can be an employer, sole trader, corporation, association, partnership local government (council), state or commonwealth government, certain volunteer organisations, or the trustee of a trust. A self-employed person is also a PCBU and must ensure his or her own health and safety while at work, so far as is reasonably practicable.
A public authority is defined in our laws as an agency or instrumentality of the Crown or an administrative unit or department within the public service. The laws also define a PCBU sufficiently widely to cover public sector agencies, which therefore binds the Crown as a legal entity. This means that all public authorities and Officers within them have duties and are accountable (and liable to face prosecution) for any breaches of the laws, to the same extent as private sector organisations.
The primary duty of a PCBU (section 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of workers (and others, like clients, visitors and customers) is not put at risk by the work carried out by the business or undertaking. This duty requires PCBUs to provide and maintain:
- a safe work environment
- safe plant and structures
- safe systems of work
- safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
- adequate facilities to support the welfare of workers
- information, training, instruction or supervision
- monitoring of workers' health and workplace conditions to prevent illness or injury.
There are additional duties for a PCBU who:
- manage or control a workplace
- control fixtures, fittings or plant at a workplace
- design, manufacture, import or supply plant, substances or structures
- install, construct or commission plant or structures for a workplace.
Worker accommodation owned or controlled by a PCBU and necessary for a worker's engagement because other accommodation is not reasonably available, must also be maintained so that workers are not exposed to health and safety risks.
A PCBU does not include:
- a person engaged solely as a worker or an officer
- an elected member of a local authority
- a volunteer association (where no workers are employed)
- a strata title body corporate responsible for common areas used only for residential purposes (so long as the body corporate does not directly employ workers).