PCBU – Person conducting a business or undertaking 

The WHS Act places the primary duty of care and various other duties and obligations on a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU). The meaning of a PCBU is set out in section 5 of the WHS Act. This is a broad concept used to capture all types of modern working arrangements. A PCBU conducts a business or undertaking alone or with others. The business or undertaking can operate for-profit or not-for-profit.  

The definition of a PCBU focuses on the work arrangements and the relationships to carry out the work. In addition to employers, a PCBU can be a corporation, an association, a partnership, or sole trader. A volunteer organisation which employs any person to carry out work is considered a PCBU. Householders, where there is an employment relationship between the householder and the worker, are also considered a PCBU. 

An officer 

is a person who makes decisions, or participates in making decisions, that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of a business or undertaking and has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the business or undertaking. If a person is responsible only for implementing those decisions, they are not considered an officer.  

 Partners of a partnership are not officers but are PCBUs. An officer of a PCBU must exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with their duties under the WHS legislation.