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                        2 min read

                        What is a PCBU?

                        What is a PCBU?

                        PCBU is a common acronym used in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, to outline the duties of a business in protecting the safety of its workers.

                        But what exactly is a PCBU? What does it mean? What are your obligations as a PCBU that uses heavy machinery in its day to day operations? We have answered all of these questions in this article.


                        Definition of a PCBU

                        A person conducting a business or undertaking, or PCBU, is an organisation that undertakes business with others for profit or gain. PCBU also includes business being conducted by a partnership or unincorporated association.


                        What are the requirements of a PCBU when it comes to machinery safety?

                        The legislation makes a number of stipulations around the requirements of a PCBU when it comes to protecting the safety of workers, including when they are using machinery.

                        Division 2 of Part 2 of the Act outlines the primary duty of care that a PCBU needs to provide to a worker. It states:

                        (1) A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of:

                        (a) workers engaged, or caused to be engaged by the person; and

                        (b) workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the person;

                        while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking.

                        (2) A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.

                        Division 3, which outlines further duties of persons conducting businesses or undertakings, also makes a direct mention of ensuring machinery safety. These mentions include the duties of those conducting businesses or undertakings:

                        • involving management or control of plant at workplaces.

                        • that design plant.

                        • that manufacture plant.

                        • that import plant.

                        • that supply plant.

                        • that install or commission plant.


                        What does this mean for me?

                        If you’re not adept at reading and interpreting legislation, it can be difficult to comprehend the exact meaning of the excerpts we’ve listed above. Essentially, your main requirements as a PCBU that uses heavy machinery include:

                        • Ensuring the health and safety of your workers, so far as is reasonably practicable.

                        • Not putting the health and safety of workers at risk through your work.

                        • Managing machinery and equipment in a way that does not risk the health and safety of workers during the course of work, or through the means of entering or exiting the workplace.

                        • Ensuring machinery or equipment is designed, manufactured, supplied, imported and/or installed in a way that is to be used, or could reasonably be expected to be used, in a manner that is without risks to the health and safety of people.

                        It is critical that as a PCBU, you have a thorough understanding of your legal obligations. Your obligations may vary based on the state or territory you are located in, the requirements of your relevant authority, and whether you are a user or supplier of machinery. To find out more information about each state and territory’s requirements for users and suppliers, see our guide Safety legislation and obligations for machinery owners and suppliers.


                        Want more information?

                        The team at Plant Assessor can help you to understand your duties as a PCBU in relation to machinery and worker safety. Simply contact us by phoning 1300 728 852 or emailing



                        Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.

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