Owners Corporations and Obligations Owed for Safety

I often see advertisements offering WOHS (workplace/ occupational health and safety) inspections for strata title buildings. I also speak to Owners Corporations (OC) Committee’s, usually made up of residential owners, who are concerned about their obligations for WOHS for contractors and others. So, let’s clear it up.

Strata title OC Committees of solely residential properties are exempt from coverage under WOHS legislation as they do not do not have any employees. The engagement of independent contractors does not result in the Owners Corporation becoming an employer to which WOHS obligations attach.

Strata title OC’s which manage solely commercial properties are subject to WOHS obligations and must ensure that risks to employee safety are managed in respect of common areas. Including ensuring that matters over which the Owners Corporation has control in common areas do not impact on the health and safety of contractors, such as ensuring safe access and egress, housekeeping, exposure to asbestos and work at heights. However, OC’s in commercial properties are entitled to rely on the expertise of contractors to undertake their specialist work safely once they have obtained confirmation from the contractor that they have safety arrangements in place.

Where a property has mixed commercial and residential owners and there are common areas which are used solely for residential purposes, and the Owners Corporation does not engage any employees they are exempt from WOHS obligations.

If your OC is subject to WOHS obligations and has any concerns about its legal obligations, contact ContractorSAFE to easily put your mind at ease. Go to www.contractorsafe.net.au or email us at info@contractorsafe.net.au