Blog » The Health and Safety Act is coming!

The Health and Safety Act is coming

David Faulkner of John Crocker and Associates

A term that many of us are becoming familiar with is a PCBU (Person conducting a business or undertaking). This is a business, whether it is a large company or a sole operator. The PCBU has a duty of care to its workers and other people and must engage with its workers to create and maintain a safe working environment. 

A PCBU must all manage and control risks in the workplace. In our business, the properties that we manage are the workplace so if there are any potential risks then the PCBU has to reasonably practicable steps to nullify that risk.

When you think about this the scope of how far the HSWA goes is enormous. Any maintenance issues regarding managed property that could potentially cause harm to tenants or other people will have to be done immediately and by qualified contractors who have agreements with Property Management companies. My belief is that owners will no longer be able to carry out maintenance on their own properties without signing some sort of disclaimer with the Property Management company.

Will Private Landlords Come Under The Act?

Then you have private landlords to take into consideration. I have a simple question that could have a massive impact on many private landlords. 

Is a private landlord a PCBU?

Reading the HSWA my belief is yes they are. This is because a landlord is a business offering a product for a transaction. The tenant is the consumer and a client of the landlord. Landlords are running a business. This is what a PCBU is.

If this is the case then you will see our industry gradually go in the same direction as Australia and more private landlords will switch to professional Property Management as the risks become too high to do it yourself.

Think about it. If a tenant gets injured in a rental property and it is down to neglect of a rental property or poor workmanship then the PCBU may not only face Tenancy Tribunal but they may also suffer the consequences of action by Worksafe NZ.