A new guide has been published to explain work health and safety duties in a contractual chain.
A contractual chain is where there are multiple contractors and subcontractors for the same project or work matter. They can form in any industry but are common in industries such as building and construction, events management and road transport.
There does not need to be a direct contractual relationship between the PCBU and a worker lower down the chain in order for the PCBU to have work health and safety duties to that worker. PCBUs higher up the chain also owe a duty of care to a contractor as a worker if they caused that contractor to be engaged, or they influence or direct the individual contractor’s activities.
The Safe Work Australia guide explains duties under WHS laws and examples of contractual relationships, including when individual contractors and self-employed people may be both a PCBU and a worker in a contractual chain.
Each PCBU in the contractual chain must consult with workers (and their representatives) who carry out work for them in the chain. This includes giving workers a reasonable opportunity to express their views or raise concerns about work health and safety.