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Last updated March 2023

This chapter explains your health and safety obligations in relation to contractors, and how to meet them.

Health and safety obligations in relation to contractors

The following people have obligations to ensure the health and safety of contractors and others at your worksite:

  • you, as the employer – called the principal; and
  • the contractors themselves.
Definition: Contractor

A contractor (sometimes called an independent contractor) is a person or company that provides goods or services to a business under the terms set out in a contract.

You may engage contractors under the following contract arrangements:

  • limited access contracts, e.g. to deliver goods or repair equipment;
  • labour hire contracts, e.g. a temporary worker contracted to your business during another worker’s absence;
  • short-term project contracts, e.g. a graphic designer contracted to design your company logo; and
  • major contracts involving large expenditure and long periods onsite, e.g. a 3-year public works construction project.
Tip: Although labour hire workers are also contractors, this chapter primarily addresses your obligations in relation to independent contractors, i.e. those who operate independently and provide a service to your business.
Important: Contractors are not employees. Instead, they carry out their own trade or business and contract with you on that basis.