Recently while talking to a customer they said “we don’t sign in contractors because the building owners have engaged them.”

Unfortunately, as a PCBU you’re not able to sidestep responsibility for anyone on your premises.

WorkSafe New Zealand have just released a new guide to help with dealing with this kind of overlap.

Building health and safety into contract management

It’s not so clear from the title, but keep an eye out as we delve into this further and bring you handy snippets over the coming weeks.

But the key points are:

– You must consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBUs when working in a shared workplace, or as part of a contracting chain
– You can’t contract out of health and safety duties
– You should always build health and safety into contract management

If we apply this to the situation where the company is leasing offices in a large building, and contractors are coming on site to undertake work

  • Contractor health and safety is the responsibility of both the PCBU who engaged the contractor to do the work, and the PCBU who’s premise the work is being carried out. The two companies must communicate in some way to ensure this.
  • If something were to happen to the contractor, both PCBU’s would be accountable in some way. The argument that “we don’t need to sign in the contractors” and the assumption that you also don’t have to ensure their safety because they were engaged by the building owner is not valid.
  • The understanding between the two PCBU’s should be established and communicated as part of the lease agreement. Again saying “we didn’t know we had to” is not a valid defence if an accident does happen.


Disclaimer: this information should not replace advice from a qualified health and safety professional.