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Overlapping Duties

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Overlapping Duties
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Working with Other Businesses

Whenever there are multiple businesses working together on one site, it can be a

bit confusing about who is responsible for what.

Each businesses must do what they can (within reason) to keep everyone on the

site safe. This relates to their own team, other workers or anyone that steps onto

the site. The best way to do this is to communicate with one another.

The 3C’s

At any workplace it is everyone’s responsibility to keep safe and manage health

and safety. Businesses must work together to keep all workers at the workplace


In some cases there may be overlapping health and safety activities and obligations,

when multiple companies are working together. In this case, it is critical everyone follows

the 3C’s - Consult, Co-operate and Co-ordinate.

By following the 3C’s businesses are ensuring that everyone is aware of any

overlapping duties, so roles can be clearly defined and work is not impacted.


Working with Other Businesses

Communication is key within a busy worksite. With contractors and subcontractors coming and going, there are a lot of moving parts. When maintaining a safe working environment, communication must be prioritised.

As a PCBU, if a new team comes onto the site or into the workplace, you are responsible to complete a full induction with them. Ask them about their work and how it will effect other teams also working on the site. They may have work that has hazards and risks that affect each other, seek them out straight away and follow the 3C’s.

Covering the Gaps

When there is an overlap, why is the communication important? Two reasons.

Firstly, it allows both parties to clearly define roles and responsibilities, and establish an

action plan for how health and safety will be managed.

Secondly, they may recognise risks that you may not have recognised and vice versa.

Working together can increase the hazards that are recognised.

Gaps can occur in businesses when:

  • There is a lack of understanding about roles

  • Not knowing what the work and hazards and risks are that other businesses are working with

  • One assumes the other is responsible for a hazard / risk

  • The business managing the risk is not the best equipped to

Understanding Your Duty

When there are overlapping duties on a site, how do you determine what your duties

are? You need to first consider the extent to which you can influence or control the risk

in question.

This can be determined by considering the following:

  • Your control over the work activity - are you the business managing or running the work / task being completed?

  • Control over the site - are you the main contractor or a subcontractor?

  • Control over your team - a business will have more control over its own team or contractors than another business

The more influence and control you have over the site, tasks or workers, the more

control you have over the hazards and risk = the more responsibility you have

Need Assistance?

Our team are available if you require assistance with Site Health and Safety Management and Contractor Management.

Please contact us if you require any advice or check out our website:

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