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Duties of workers

Last updated March 2024

This chapter explains what health and safety duties workers have and how you can help workers comply with them.

Who is a worker under health and safety legislation?

Important: The term ‘worker’ is used throughout the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act), whereas in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (OHS Act), the term ‘employee’ is used, which has a more restrictive definition.

Under the WHS Act, a worker is defined as a person who carries out work in any capacity for a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). This includes:

  • an employee of the PCBU;
  • a contractor or subcontractor;
  • an employee of the contractor or subcontractor;
  • an employee of a labour hire company who has been assigned to work for the PCBU;
  • an apprentice or trainee;
  • an outworker;
  • a person gaining work experience; or
  • a volunteer.

An employee is defined under the OHS Act in Victoria as a person employed under a contract of employment or training.