Duties for specific businesses

There are responsibilities that apply to some business under certain situations. They expand on and are in addition to the primary responsibilities (primary duty of care).

Businesses that manage or control the workplace

Under HSWA, most duties relate to the conduct of work, however certain responsibilities relate to the physical workplace.

If your business manages or controls the workplace then you must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace, how people enter and exit the workplace, and anything else that may arise from the workplace are without health and safety risks to people. 

What is a workplace?

A workplace is any place where a worker goes or is likely to be while at work, or where work is being carried out or is customarily carried out.

This workplace duty recognises that a workplace may not permanently be a workplace for the business. 

Businesses that manage or control workplaces do not owe this duty to anyone who is at the workplace for an unlawful purpose.

Example 1

A builder is making repairs to a commercial property. This property is only classed as the builder’s workplace while the builder is working there.

Example 2

Lines workers are carrying out a one-off repair of a power pole. Once they complete the work and leave, it is no longer a workplace for the lines company PCBU as the workers are not usually at that location for work.

Further clarification for farm businesses

There is a clarification of these duties for farm businesses.

The duty of a business who manages or controls a workplace applies only in relation to the farm buildings (and any structures and part of the farm immediately surrounding the buildings) needed for the operation of the farm. The duties do not apply to the family home, or to any other part of the farm unless work is being carried out there.

However, the primary duty of care to ensure people are not put at risk by the work of the farm still applies. 

Businesses that manage or control fixtures, fittings or plant at a workplace

If your business manages or controls fixtures, fittings or plant at a workplace then you must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that these fixtures, fittings or plant don't create health and safety risks.

This could include consideration of the potential health effects from using the plant (for example, the long-term use of a vibrating tool causing damage to nerves or blood vessels in the arms or hands).