A reader has drawn SafetyAtWorkBlog’s attention to one State regulator in Australia who has already begun to apply the broader definition for “employer” in their OHS guidance material.
In September 2009, the ACT Safety Commissioner published a Guidance on “Safe Structures, Systems and Workplaces“. In that guidance, the Commissioner refers to
…”New general duties to ensure work safety by managing risk apply to a person:
…carrying on a business or undertaking;…”
This anticipates the definition put forward in Australia’s OHS model Act in relation to PCBUs (Peek-A-Boos).
The matter of a “business or undertaker” was also used in the ACT’s Work Safety Act 2008 (effective from 1 October 2009) throughout the document but with slight variation. Of most interest here are the definitions of employer, worker and “business or undertaking”:
“employer, of a worker, includes a person who engages the worker to carry out work in the person’s business or undertaking.”
“worker means an individual who carries out work in relation to a business or undertaking, whether for reward or otherwise, under an arrangement with the person conducting the business or undertaking.”
“business or undertaking includes—
(a) a not-for-profit business; and
(b) an activity conducted by a local, state or territory government.”
The logic of such an inclusive term is understandable but needs greater clarity which is likely to some from regulations or supportive documents.
Having a Peek-A-Boo is one thing, let’s just hope that the jargon does not develop to start referring to “undertakers”.