IR35 – Implications of health and safety training

My client wishes to put some of his contractors on a health and safety training course. Would the fact that the client is paying for the contractors to go on this course be detrimental when trying to show that the contractor is deemed to be outside of IR35?

It is standard practice for end clients, in order to conform to their own insurance requirements and as part of their internal induction process, to request that contractors receive health and safety training. This training is required in all work places and is usually offered in one form or another to anyone working on site be they contactors or otherwise.
Whilst HMRC may suggest that the training in their arguments under control is a pointer towards IR35, it is an argument that we would strongly resist, as conforming to health and safety standards is a condition that you would expect in any contract. It is highly unlikely that any end client would engage the services of a contractor who would refuse to do this.
This viewpoint is supported in MAL Scaffolding v HMRC [2006] SpC527, which established that direction and control that is not within the remit of the engager is not indicative of a right of control over the worker. Here the judge stated ”in particular, I do not accept the argument that the site agents could be regarded as carrying out the control function over the workers of MAL Scaffolding. The site agents have independent statutory safety obligations that apply to employee and self-employed worker alike”.

We believe that conforming to end client health and safety guidelines has little bearing on the three mainstays of IR35 i.e. personal service, control and mutuality of obligations.

Here to help
With more than 75 highly skilled tax and funding specialists, advising on over 2,000 complex tax issues each year, we work with your practice to provide up to date, practical solutions. If you have a client in a similar situation, or have a tax question of your own, we're here to help on 0345 223 2727. Or to find out more about our services, email
The information provided on this site is of a general tax nature and may not apply to any particular set of facts or under all circumstances. It should not be construed as tax advice and does not constitute an engagement of Abbey Tax. Tax laws are constantly changing. The information on this site was accurate at the time of posting and we make every effort to keep it current, however we are not responsible for outdated material.