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  • HSWA Definitions


Health means work-related health which is about the impact work can have on people’s health. In the past, it is called occupational health.

Duty of care

Duty of care to Workers, and the requirements to provide for a Worker’s health and safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).


An officer is a person who holds a very senior leadership position in the business, and has the ability to significantly influence the management of a business or undertaking. A business can have more than one officer.

Officers Inlude

  • Directors
  • Partners in a partnership
  • Board members
  • Any person who holds a position comparable to a director in a body corporate or an unincorporated body
  • Any person who exercises significant influence over the management of the business or undertaking (eg the Chief Executive)

  • Officers have a duty of due diligence to ensure their business understands and manages its key health and safety risks. This includes taking reasonable steps to:

  • Have relevant, up-to-date knowledge of workplace health and safety.
  • Understand the nature of the business and its operations and associated health and safety risks generally.
  • Ensure the business has appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risk.

  • Person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)

    A PCBU may be a person if a sole trader or self-employed, however it usually refers to a business entity such as a company, or an undertaking such as a not-for-profit organisation.

    The difference between a business and undertaking is:

  • A business is an enterprise usually conducted with a view to making a profit
  • An undertaking is usually not profit-making or commercial in nature

  • Primary Duty of Care

    The primary duty of care is broad overarching duty which includes, but is not limited to, a business having effective practices in place for:

  • Providing and maintaining a work environment that is without risks to health and safety
  • Providing and maintaining safe plant and structures
  • Providing and maintaining safe systems of work
  • Ensuring the safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
  • Providing adequate facilities for the welfare of workers when they doing work for your business, including ensuring access to those facilities
  • Providing any information, training, instruction, or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from the work of your business
  • Monitoring the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace for the purpose of preventing injury or illness of workers arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking
  • Providing healthy and safe worker accommodation

  • Reasonably practicable, in relation to the duty to ensure health and safety, means that, which is, or was, at a particular time, reasonably able to be done in relation to ensuring health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:

    1. The likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring; and
    2. The degree of harm that might result from the hazard or the risk; and
    3. What the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about:
              a. The hazard or the risk; and
              b. Ways of eliminating or minimising the risk; and
              c. The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk; and
              d. After assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or
              minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.


    A worker is an individual who carries out work in any capacity for a business or undertaking. This includes

  • Employees
  • Contractors/Sub-contractors
  • Employees of labour hire companies
  • Apprentices or trainees
  • People doing work experience or work trial

  • Certain volunteers are classed as volunteer workers. A volunteer is a ‘volunteer worker’ when:

  • they work for a business or undertaking who knows they are doing that work or has given consent for it to be done, and
  • the volunteer does the work on an ongoing and regular basis, and
  • the work is an integral part of the business or undertaking

  • You are not a volunteer worker if your work is:

  • participating in fundraising
  • assisting with sports or recreation for an educational institute, sports club or recreation club
  • assisting with activities for an educational institute outside its premises or providing care for another person in the volunteer’s home (eg foster care)

  • Other people at a workplace

    Examples of others in a workplace include:

  • Visitors to a workplace (eg courier drivers, clients, suppliers, people on tours of the workplace
  • Customers
  • Any public who could come into contact with a business’ work activity
  • People at a concert
  • Casual volunteers (not volunteer workers)

  • Workplace

    Workplace means a place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking including place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work. Place includes vehicle, vessel, aircraft, ship, or other mobile structure; as well as any waters and any installation on land, on the bed of any waters, or floating on any waters.