Am I meeting my responsibilities under HSWA?

Everyone has responsibilities under the Health and Safety Work Act 2015 (HSWA). Here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re meeting yours.
1

I work on a fishing vessel and get paid wages

WAKE UP CALL

WHAT HAPPENED?

After 18 hours at sea Harry (self-employed owner and skipper) asked Joe (deckhand) to keep watch in the wheelhouse. Joe was exhausted, had been for days, but didn’t want Harry to think he was a lightweight. Joe knew he could fight off sleep, and he was doing a great job until... he woke to the sound of the hull slamming against rocks.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

Joe, the worker, is responsible because by not mentioning his fatigue, he didn’t take ‘reasonable care’ to keep himself and others healthy and safe. Harry, the PCBU, is also responsible. Because he had the ‘primary duty‘ to ensure Joe’s health and safety, it was his job to have processes in place to make sure his workers weren’t over-tired. Harry relied on Joe to keep sole watch and didn’t ensure ‘so far as is reasonable practicable’ that his workers’ health and safety wasn’t at risk.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. HSWA has introduced some new terms and duties to clarify yours:

You are a worker – someone who works for a PCBU (a person conducting a business or undertaking, such as the company that owns the maritime operation you’re working for). All crew are workers, regardless of whether they’re employed fulltime or as contractors.

Your responsibilities as a worker

Your responsibilities include taking ‘reasonable care’ to keep yourself and other people, who could be affected by the work you do, healthy and safe, by:

  • taking care of your own health and safety
  • making sure you don’t put others at risk when you’re working
  • following your skipper’s health and safety-related instructions
  • cooperating with all health and safety policies or procedures.

1. Watching out for risks

One obvious way to protect yourself and others from injury is to keep an eye out for – and let your skipper and/or PCBU know about – any risks on your vessel, such as:

  • sharp edges that could cut or puncture
  • slippery surfaces or things someone could trip over
  • changes in height that a person could fall from
  • machinery a person could get trapped or caught in or cut, grazed or crushed by
  • the area where a person could get hit by a swinging crane or hauler
  • winches and haul gear that a person could get caught in
  • motors or cooking equipment that get hot and could burn someone.

2. Keeping on top of fatigue

Fatigue is a major cause of accidents on vessels, so keeping it under control is another important responsibility.

If you think you’re suffering from fatigue:

  • let your skipper and/or PCBU know
  • try to get enough sleep during rest periods
  • read our fatigue page for information and tips.

Read about fatigue

3. Getting involved in health and safety

As part of HSWA, your skipper and/or PCBU will involve you in your workplace’s ongoing health and safety. This is your opportunity to make sure your work environment is as safe as possible, so please:

  • think about accidents that have happened in the past
  • talk to other crew members to make sure they’re also watching out for potential risks
  • suggest better ways to operate equipment or undertake emergency procedures
  • offer to be a health and safety representative or part of a health and safety committee.

Other people’s responsibilities to you

HSWA is designed to help ensure that you get home from work healthy and safe. As well as giving you more control over your own health and safety, it means your skipper and/or the company you work for have greater responsibilities towards you. You can expect:

  • a safe work environment
  • to follow safe work processes
  • rules and procedures to manage fatigue, including required rest breaks
  • to receive any information or training necessary to protect your health and safety
  • support regarding your health and wellbeing
  • essential facilities, including a place to eat and rest.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

I’m a trainee getting work experience on a fishing vessel

WAKE UP CALL

WHAT HAPPENED?

After 18 hours at sea Matty (self-employed owner and skipper) asked Nathan (trainee) to keep watch in the wheelhouse. Nathan was exhausted, had been for days, but didn’t want Matty to think he was a lightweight. Nathan knew he could fight off sleep, and he was doing a great job until... he woke to the sound of the hull slamming against rocks.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

Nathan, the worker, is responsible because by not mentioning his fatigue, he didn’t take ‘reasonable care’ to keep himself and others healthy and safe. Matty, the PCBU, is also responsible. Because he had the ‘primary duty’ to ensure Nathan’s health and safety, it was his job to have processes in place to make sure his workers weren’t over-tired. Matty relied on Nathan to keep sole watch and didn’t ensure ‘so far as is reasonable practicable’ that his worker’s health and safety wasn’t at risk.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. HSWA has introduced some new terms and duties to clarify yours:

As a trainee, you are a worker – someone who works for a PCBU (a person conducting a business or undertaking, such as the company that owns the maritime operation you’re working for).

Your responsibilities as a worker

Your responsibilities include taking ‘reasonable care’ to keep yourself and other people, who could be affected by the work you do, healthy and safe, by:

  • taking care of your own health and safety
  • making sure you don’t put others at risk when you’re working
  • following your skipper’s health and safety-related instructions
  • cooperating with all health and safety policies or procedures.

1. Watching out for risks

One obvious way to protect yourself and others from injury is to keep an eye out for – and let your skipper and/or PCBU know about – any risks on your vessel, such as:

  • sharp edges that could cut or puncture
  • slippery surfaces or things someone could trip over
  • changes in height that a person could fall from
  • machinery a person could get trapped or caught in or cut, grazed or crushed by
  • the area where a person could get hit by a swinging crane or hauler
  • winches and haul gear that a person could get caught in
  • motors or cooking equipment that get hot and could burn someone.

2. Keeping on top of fatigue

Fatigue is a major cause of accidents on vessels, so keeping it under control is another important responsibility.

If you think you’re suffering from fatigue:

  • let your skipper and/or PCBU know
  • try to get enough sleep during rest periods
  • read our fatigue page for information and tips.

Read about fatigue

Other people’s responsibilities to you

HSWA is designed to help ensure that you get home from work healthy and safe. As well as giving you more control over your own health and safety, it means your skipper and/or the company you work for have greater responsibilities towards you. You can expect:

  • a safe work environment
  • to follow safe work processes
  • rules and procedures to manage fatigue, including required rest breaks
  • to receive any information or training necessary to protect your health and safety
  • support regarding your health and wellbeing
  • essential facilities, including a place to eat and rest.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

I work on someone else’s vessel for a share of the catch

A SLIP OF MIND

WHAT HAPPENED?

One of the first things Shane noticed when starting work as a share fisher on Jacob’s vessel was the worn tread plate on the deck. He knew he should mention it to Jacob, but hadn’t got around to it. Sure it’s a bit slippery, Shane thought, but what’s the worst that could happen? After sliding on the tread plate and landing on his back, he found out.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

Shane is self-employed so he’s a PCBU. This means he has the ‘primary duty’ to ensure the health and safety of others, and a duty to consult and work with any other PCBU involved. He’s responsible because he failed to take reasonably practicable precautions and talk about his concerns with Jacob, the PCBU that owns and operates the vessel. Jacob is also responsible because he didn’t make sure the vessel was free of risks, and he didn’t consult and work with Shane to manage safety.

HSWA has introduced some new terms and duties to clarify your responsibilities. As a sharefisher who works on someone else’s vessel, you are:

  • a worker – a person who does work in any capacity for a business,
  • a PCBU – a person conducting a business or undertaking, and
  • an officer – a person with significant influence over the management of the business.

Your responsibilities as a worker

Your responsibilities include taking ‘reasonable care’ to keep yourself and other people, who could be affected by the work you do, healthy and safe, by:

1. Watching out for risks

One obvious way to protect yourself and others from injury is to keep an eye out for any risks on your vessel, such as:

  • sharp edges that could cut or puncture
  • slippery surfaces or things someone could trip over
  • changes in height that a person could fall from
  • machinery a person could get trapped or caught in or cut, grazed or crushed by
  • the area where a person could get hit by a swinging crane or hauler
  • winches and haul gear that a person could get caught in
  • motors or cooking equipment that get hot and could burn someone.

2. Keeping on top of fatigue

Fatigue is a major cause of accidents on vessels, so keeping it under control is another important responsibility.

If you think you’re suffering from fatigue:

  • read our fatigue page for information and tips
  • try to get enough sleep during rest periods

Read about fatigue

If a member of your crew is suffering from fatigue, work with them to develop a fatigue management plan.

Your responsibilities as a PCBU

The PCBU has the greatest responsibilities under HSWA, including the primary duty of care – looking after the health and safety of workers and anyone else who could be affected by the work you do. This involves:

  • making sure that the work area is free of risks, and managing hazards like asbestos
  • ensuring (so far as is reasonable practicable) that machinery or equipment (plant) doesn’t pose a threat to anyone.

You also need to:

Consult, cooperate with and coordinate your activities.

If you’re working in the same place as another PCBU, you need to consult each other, cooperate and coordinate your activities. For example, if a company (PCBU 1) is hired to install new equipment at the top of a vessel’s mast, they must talk to the vessel’s owner and operator (PCBU 2) about the risks associated with that job. Both PCBUs then need to work together to figure out how to keep workers away from underneath the mast while the work is in progress.

Your responsibilities as an officer

Exercising due diligence to ensure that your business meets its health and safety obligations.

This includes:

  • having up-to-date knowledge of health and safety matters
  • understanding the hazards and risks of the work in your business
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes and resources to minimise risks
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information about incidents, hazards and risks
  • making sure your business has processes for complying with HSWA, and applies them.

Please remember: Health and safety is an ongoing obligation – it should always be on your mind.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

I own my own vessel and work alone

DROPPING THE GUARD

WHAT HAPPENED?

Simon knew about the drive chain on the winch and planned to fix it for the next survey. Yes, leaving the winch unguarded was risky, but he’d take care. Turned out the winch was no problem at all... until Simon was greasing it two days before the survey. He can’t remember what distracted him. All he recalls is the shock realisation that he’d just lost three fingers.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

Simon, the PCBU, was responsible. By not following safety procedures and fixing the drive chain on the winch, he failed to take reasonably practicable precautions.

HSWA has introduced some new terms and duties to clarify your responsibilities. As someone who owns their own boat and works on it alone, you are:

  • a worker – a person who does work in any capacity for a business,
  • a PCBU – a person conducting a business or undertaking, and
  • an officer – a person with significant influence over the management of the business.

Your responsibilities as a worker

Taking reasonable care to keep yourself healthy and safe, this includes:

1. Watching out for risks

One obvious way to protect yourself and others from injury is to keep an eye out for any risks on your vessel, such as:

  • sharp edges that could cut or puncture
  • slippery surfaces or things someone could trip over
  • changes in height that a person could fall from
  • machinery a person could get trapped or caught in or cut, grazed or crushed by
  • the area where a person could get hit by a swinging crane or hauler
  • winches and haul gear that a person could get caught in
  • motors or cooking equipment that get hot and could burn someone.

2. Keeping on top of fatigue

Fatigue is a major cause of accidents on vessels, so keeping it under control is another important responsibility.

If you think you’re suffering from fatigue:

  • read our fatigue page for information and tips
  • try to get enough sleep during rest periods

Read about fatigue

Your responsibilities as a PCBU

If your vessel has a maritime safety management system such as MOSS, you probably already meet many of HSWA’s requirements. Some of your additional responsibilities include:

1. Managing asbestos.

PCBUs are also responsible for managing hazards like asbestos. This includes:

  • eliminating or minimising exposure to airborne asbestos on your vessel
  • following prescribed requirements when doing routine maintenance and servicing work or refurbishment that could involve asbestos.

2. Providing and maintaining adequate workplace facilities.

You also need to ensure (so far as is reasonably practicable) that your working environment is always safe and healthy. This includes:

  • making sure your vessel has essential facilities, such as a toilet, drinking water, hand-washing facilities, a first aid kit, and a place to eat and rest.

Your responsibilities as an officer

Exercising due diligence to ensure that your business meets its health and safety obligations.

This includes:

  • having up-to-date knowledge of health and safety matters
  • understanding the hazards and risks of the work in your business
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes and resources to minimise risks
  • making sure your have processes for complying with HSWA, and that you apply them.

Please remember: Health and safety is an ongoing obligation – it should always be on your mind.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

I own my own vessel and work with a crew

ABUSE OF POWER

WHAT HAPPENED?

Dave owned and operated a fishing boat, running a generator to drive the equipment. He knew the loose electrical wire connection to the hoist was a risk. He also knew it’d take 30 minutes max to fix. Nick, the young crewman reminded him a couple of times, but Dave was a busy man, with bigger fish to fry. So he put it out of his mind... until Nick was electrocuted with 230 volts and left permanently brain damaged. Since then Dave’s thought of little else.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

Dave, the PCBU, was responsible – it was his job to ensure the health and safety of his workers. By not fixing the wire immediately, he failed to ensure ‘as far as is reasonable practicable’ that the health and safety of his workers wasn’t at risk. This resulted in serious life-long injuries to a crew-member and Dave’s prosecution.

HSWA has introduced some new terms and duties to clarify your responsibilities. Because you own your vessel and work on it with a crew, you are:

  • a worker – a person who does work in any capacity for a business,
  • a PCBU – a person conducting a business or undertaking, and
  • an officer – a person with significant influence over the management of the business.

Your responsibilities as a worker

Your responsibilities include taking ‘reasonable care’ to keep yourself and other people, who could be affected by the work you do, healthy and safe, by:

1. Watching out for risks

One obvious way to protect yourself and others from injury is to keep an eye out for any risks on your vessel, such as:

  • sharp edges that could cut or puncture
  • slippery surfaces or things someone could trip over
  • changes in height that a person could fall from
  • machinery a person could get trapped or caught in or cut, grazed or crushed by
  • the area where a person could get hit by a swinging crane or hauler
  • winches and haul gear that a person could get caught in
  • motors or cooking equipment that get hot and could burn someone.

2. Keeping on top of fatigue

Fatigue is a major cause of accidents on vessels, so keeping it under control is another important responsibility.

If you are suffering from fatigue:

  • read our fatigue page for information and tips
  • try to get enough sleep during rest periods

Read about fatigue

If a member of your crew is suffering from fatigue, work with them to develop a fatigue management plan.

Your responsibilities as a PCBU

The PCBU has the greatest responsibilities under HSWA, including the primary duty of care – looking after the health and safety of workers and anyone else who could be affected by the work you do. This involves:

  • making sure that the work area is free of risks, and managing hazards like asbestos
  • ensuring (so far as is reasonable practicable) that machinery or equipment (plant) doesn’t pose a threat to anyone
  • engaging your workers in health and safety
  • providing adequate facilities, such as a toilet, drinking water and rest areas.

You also need to:

Consult, cooperate with and coordinate your activities.

If you’re working in the same place as another PCBU, you need to consult each other, cooperate and coordinate your activities. For example, if a company (PCBU 1) is hired to install new equipment at the top of a vessel’s mast, they must talk to the vessel’s owner and operator (PCBU 2) about the risks associated with that job. Both PCBUs then need to work together to figure out how to keep workers away from underneath the mast while the work is in progress.

Your responsibilities as an officer

Exercising due diligence to ensure that your business meets its health and safety obligations.

This includes:

  • having up-to-date knowledge of health and safety matters
  • understanding the hazards and risks of the work in your business
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes and resources to minimise risks
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information about incidents, hazards and risks
  • making sure your business has processes for complying with HSWA, and applies them.

Please remember: Health and safety is an ongoing obligation – it should always be on your mind.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

I’m the chief executive of a company that operates a vessel/s

FALLING SHORT OF RESPONSIBILITY

WHAT HAPPENED?

Henry, CE of MoreFish Limited, knew he was responsible for overseeing MoreFish’s health and safety. But he preferred to take a hands-off approach, leaving it to Shane (skipper) to set up and follow processes. So it came as a shock to Henry when Brian, a crewman, fell through the hatch on deck. Brian suffered serious injuries, including paralysis from the waist down.

WHO’S RESPONSIBLE?

MoreFish, as the PCBU, has the greatest responsibility, including providing a work environment that is without risks to health and safety. Shane, as a worker, is responsible because, by leaving the hatch propped open, he failed to take all reasonably practicable steps to look after his own and others’ safety. Henry, the officer, is also responsible for not ensuring that MoreFish had appropriate processes to minimise risks.

HSWA has introduced some new terms and duties to help you understand your responsibilities. As the CE of a company that operates one or more vessels, you are:

  • an officer – a person with significant influence over the management of the business.

You also need to make sure that your company fulfills its duties as a PCBU (a person conducting a business or undertaking).

(A worker is a person who does work in any capacity for a PCBU.)

Your responsibilities as a officer

Exercising due diligence to ensure that your company meets its health and safety obligations.

This includes:

  • having up-to-date knowledge of health and safety matters
  • understanding the hazards and risks of the work in your company
  • making sure your company has appropriate processes and resources to minimise risks
  • making sure your company has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information about incidents, hazards and risks
  • making sure your company has processes for complying with HSWA, and applies them .

Your company’s responsibilities as a PCBU

The PCBU has the greatest responsibilities under HSWA, including the primary duty of care – looking after the health and safety of workers and anyone else who could be affected by the work you do. This involves:

  • making sure that the work area is free of risks, and managing hazards like asbestos
  • ensuring (so far as is reasonable practicable) that machinery or equipment (plant) doesn’t pose a threat to anyone
  • engaging your company’s workers in health and safety
  • providing adequate facilities, such as a toilet, drinking water and rest areas.

Your company also needs to:

Consult, cooperate with and coordinate your activities.

If you’re working in the same place as another PCBU, you need to consult each other, cooperate and coordinate your activities. For example, if a company (PCBU 1) is hired to install new equipment at the top of a vessel’s mast, they must talk to the vessel’s owner and operator (PCBU 2) about the risks associated with that job. Both PCBUs then need to work together to figure out how to keep workers away from underneath the mast while the work is in progress.

Please remember: Health and safety is an ongoing obligation – it should always be on your mind.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

2

I have a limited liability company and both me and my family member are directors

Under HSWA:

  • your company is a PCBU – a person conducting a business or undertaking as directors,
  • you and your family member are officers – people with significant influence over the management of the business, and
  • if both of you carry out work for the company – i.e. you’re the master and your family member does the paperwork and admin – both of you are also workers.

Your company’s responsibilities as a PCBU

The PCBU has the greatest responsibilities under HSWA, including the primary duty of care – looking after the health and safety of workers and anyone else who could be affected by the work you do. This involves:

  • making sure that the work area is free of risks, and managing hazards like asbestos
  • ensuring (so far as is reasonable practicable) that machinery or equipment (plant) doesn’t pose a threat to anyone
  • engaging your company’s workers in health and safety
  • providing adequate facilities, such as a toilet, drinking water and rest areas.

Your company also needs to:

Consult, cooperate with and coordinate your activities.

If you’re working in the same place as another PCBU, you need to consult each other, cooperate and coordinate your activities. For example, if a company (PCBU 1) is hired to install new equipment at the top of a vessel’s mast, they must talk to the vessel’s owner and operator (PCBU 2) about the risks associated with that job. Both PCBUs then need to work together to figure out how to keep workers away from underneath the mast while the work is in progress.

Your responsibilities as officers

Under HSWA, an ‘officer’ is a person who’s in a position to exercise significant influence over the management of the business, including directors, the chief executive and anyone else with this level of decision-making power.

Although a master has a significant role in relation to the ship, a person is not automatically an ‘officer’ because they’re a master – they’re more likely to be a ‘worker’.

Whether you or your family member are officers will depend on whether you are directors and the level of decision-making power you have in the business. If you have a significant decision-making role, then you’re likely to be an officer. If you do work for the company but don’t make any significant decisions, you’ll only be a worker and not an officer.

Officer responsibilities include:

Exercising due diligence to ensure that your business meets its health and safety obligations. This includes:

  • having up-to-date knowledge of health and safety matters
  • understanding the hazards and risks of the work in your business
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes and resources to minimise risks
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information about incidents, hazards and risks
  • making sure your business has processes for complying with HSWA, and applies them.

Your responsibilities as workers

If you and your family member both carry out work for the company you’re both likely to be workers.

In a small family-run fishing business often one person is in charge of the boat – acting as master, doing maintenance etc – and the other does the paperwork, taxes, pays bills etc.

Your responsibilities include taking ‘reasonable care’ to keep yourself and other people, who could be affected by the work you do, healthy and safe, by:

  • taking care of your own health and safety
  • making sure you don’t put others at risk when you’re working
  • following your company’s health and safety-related instructions
  • cooperating with all health and safety policies or procedures

Please remember: Health and safety is an ongoing obligation – it should always be on your mind.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

I have a family trust that owns and operates the boat

Under HSWA:

  • if a family trust owns and operates the fishing vessel, the trust is a PCBU – a person conducting a business or undertaking,
  • if you and your family member are trustees, both of you are officers – people with significant influence over the management of the business, and
  • if you and your family member carry out work for the trust, you’re both workers.

Your trust’s responsibilities as a PCBU

The PCBU has the greatest responsibilities under HSWA, including the primary duty of care – looking after the health and safety of workers and anyone else who could be affected by the work you do. This involves:

  • making sure that the work area is free of risks, and managing hazards like asbestos
  • ensuring (so far as is reasonable practicable) that machinery or equipment (plant) doesn’t pose a threat to anyone
  • engaging your company’s workers in health and safety
  • providing adequate facilities, such as a toilet, drinking water and rest areas.

Your trust also needs to:

Consult, cooperate with and coordinate your activities.

If you’re working in the same place as another PCBU, you need to consult each other, cooperate and coordinate your activities. For example, if a company (PCBU 1) is hired to install new equipment at the top of a vessel’s mast, they must talk to the vessel’s owner and operator (PCBU 2) about the risks associated with that job. Both PCBUs then need to work together to figure out how to keep workers away from underneath the mast while the work is in progress.

Your (and your family member’s) responsibilities as officers

Exercising due diligence to ensure that your business meets its health and safety obligations.

This includes:

  • having up-to-date knowledge of health and safety matters
  • understanding the hazards and risks of the work in your business
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes and resources to minimise risks
  • making sure your business has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information about incidents, hazards and risks
  • making sure your business has processes for complying with HSWA, and applies them.

Your (and your family member’s) responsibilities as workers

If you both carry out work for the company you’re both likely to be workers.

In a small family-run fishing business, including those run by a family trust, often one person is in charge of the boat – acting as master, doing maintenance etc – and the other does the paperwork, taxes, pays bills etc.

In this case, you’re both workers and your HSWA duties include taking ‘reasonable care’ to keep yourself and other people, who could be affected by the work you do, healthy and safe, by:

  • taking care of your own health and safety
  • making sure you don’t put others at risk when you’re working
  • following your company’s health and safety-related instructions
  • cooperating with all health and safety policies or procedures

Please remember: Health and safety is an ongoing obligation – it should always be on your mind.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

I am self-employed and my family member works for me

Under HSWA:

  • if you’re self-employed and run the business on your own, you’re a PCBU
  • if you carry out work for the business (i.e. you’re the master), you’re also a worker
  • if someone else, such as a family member, works for you, they’re also a worker.

Your responsibilities as a PCBU

The PCBU has the greatest responsibilities under HSWA, including the primary duty of care – looking after the health and safety of workers and anyone else who could be affected by the work you do. This involves:

  • making sure that the work area is free of risks, and managing hazards like asbestos
  • ensuring (so far as is reasonable practicable) that machinery or equipment (plant) doesn’t pose a threat to anyone
  • engaging your workers in health and safety
  • providing adequate facilities, such as a toilet, drinking water and rest areas.

You also need to:

Consult, cooperate with and coordinate your activities.

If you’re working in the same place as another PCBU, you need to consult each other, cooperate and coordinate your activities. For example, if a company (PCBU 1) is hired to install new equipment at the top of a vessel’s mast, they must talk to the vessel’s owner and operator (PCBU 2) about the risks associated with that job. Both PCBUs then need to work together to figure out how to keep workers away from underneath the mast while the work is in progress.

Your (and your family member’s) responsibilities as workers

If you both carry out work for the company you’re both likely to be workers.

In a small family-run fishing business, including those run by a family trust, often one person is in charge of the boat – acting as master, doing maintenance etc – and the other does the paperwork, taxes, pays bills etc.

In this case, you’re both workers and your HSWA duties include taking ‘reasonable care’ to keep yourself and other people, who could be affected by the work you do, healthy and safe, by:

  • taking care of your own health and safety
  • making sure you don’t put others at risk when you’re working
  • following your company’s health and safety-related instructions
  • cooperating with all health and safety policies or procedures

Please remember: Health and safety is an ongoing obligation – it should always be on your mind.

To find out more about your responsibilities, please download:

Find out more on HSWA

This information is general guidance only. If you have questions about your responsibilities under HSWA, we suggest talking to your local maritime officer; but for specific advice about your legal duties or setting up your business, we recommend talking to a lawyer.

Stu says.

Stu says:

“When it comes to being safe, we all need to lift our game.”

 

Contact us for more help

For further information please contact our Wellington office.

Phone:

New Zealand (toll free):
0508 225 522

Call us now

Email:

enquiries@maritimenz.govt.nz
Tell us what you need help with and remember to include your contact details (email address and phone numbers).

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