The Myth of Non- Delegable WHS Duties

Whenever I post about contractor safety management someone inevitably pipes in that all WHS duties are non-delegable and therefore a Principal Contractor is liable for their contractors safety management. This is a myth (for a couple of reasons) and misunderstands the WHS Construction regulations in every jurisdiction. Under ALL WHS regulation the owner of a construction job is the Principal Contractor . However the owner of the work may appoint another third party to act as the PC and as a result the appointed PC is delegated and assumes All the WHS obligations previously owed by the owner of the work , including managing and coordinating all site safety.

So in the event of an incident (yes even a fatality) the appointed PC will be the one who is subject to investigation NOT the original owner. Finally it needs to be clarified that the impact of the $$ threshold in the regulations is that at a certain $$ value there must be a PC, which can be either the owner or an appointed PC not as some people think that at a certain $$ value an owner must appoint another party to act as PC.