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Who has an obligation to Health and Safety under the Act?

People who conduct a business or undertaking

A person who conducts a business or undertaking is considered a relevant person and can include:

  • employers
  • self-employed people
  • volunteer organisations

A relevant person has an obligation to ensure the workplace health and safety of:

  • all workers carrying out work for the business or undertaking
  • volunteers who perform work activities for the business or undertaking
  • all other people including customers, visitors to the workplace, passers by and neighbours
  • themselves

Meeting your workplace health and safety obligations involves:

  • providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment;
  • providing and maintaining safe plant;
  • ensuring the safe use, handling, storage and transport of substances;
  • ensuring safe systems of work;
  • providing information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure health and safety.

People in control of a workplace

The person in control of a workplace is usually the owner unless a lease or contract arrangement puts the effective control of the area in someone else’s hands.

You must ensure:

  • the workplace is safe and without risk of injury or illness to anyone coming to your workplace to work. A workplace may be a tenancy, the carpark, corridor, mall or any other part of a Centre.
  • the workplace is safe and without risk of illness or injury from any plant or substance used properly in the course of work
  • appropriate safe access to and from the workplace

People in control of relevant workplace areas

The person in control, of a relevant workplace area, is either the owner or person who has been given control over the area, for example through a contractual arrangement with the owner.

You must ensure the relevant workplace area is safe and without risk to health.

Owners of plant

Owners of plant must ensure the plant is maintained in a condition that ensures it is safe and without risk to health when used properly.

For more details on your workplace health and safety obligations, refer to part 3 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011

People in control of fixtures, fittings or plant in relevant workplace areas

The person in control of fixtures, fittings or plant is usually the owner unless a lease or contract arrangement puts the effective control in someone else’s hands.

For example:

A business leases a building from a building owner, but installs its own plumbing and lighting. The business owner is then considered to be in control of the fixtures and fittings at that workplace

You must ensure that the fixtures, fitting or plant are safe and without risk to health.

Workers

You have a workplace health and safety obligation to yourself and to others.

You must:

  • comply with instructions given for workplace health and safety
  • use personal protective equipment if the employer provides it and if you’re properly instructed in its use
  • not wilfully or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided for workplace health and safety at the workplace
  • not wilfully place others at risk
  • not wilfully injure yourself

Workplace visitors

You have a responsibility regarding your own health and safety when visiting a workplace, and an obligation to others at that workplace.

You must:

  • follow directions given by an employer to maintain workplace health and safety
  • do what a principal contractor tells you, if at a construction workplace
  • not wilfully misuse or recklessly interfere with anything provided for workplace health and safety
  • not wilfully place the safety and well-being of others at risk
  • not wilfully injure yourself

Volunteers

Both volunteers and volunteer organisations have obligations under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011

For example:

A surf lifesaving club provides a service to the community. The surf lifesavers are usually volunteers who perform work activities for the club. The club has an obligation to the surf lifesavers to ensure the workplace health and safety of all who perform work for the club – whether they are paid or not.

Volunteers have the same workplace health and safety obligations as a worker and must:

  • comply with instructions given for workplace health and safety by the employer
  • not willfully or recklessly interfere or misuse anything provided for workplace health and safety
  • not place anyone else at risk of injury or illness at the workplace
  • not willfully injure themselves

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