FavoriteLoadingSave to briefcase | Rating: | By (2012)

  • PrintEmail Link
  • Viewed 5,491 times | Saved to 87 briefcases
Paris v Stepney Borough Council, [1950] UKHL 3 (Link)

Facts:

Paris, who had only one eye, served as a garage-hand. He was hitting bolts, when a piece of metal pierced his good eye, rendering Paris completely blind.

At trial: standard of care required in duty to worker was breached because of Paris' specific circumstances (having one eye).
On appeal: standard of care was not breached; circumstance of the individual (having one-eye) is irrelevant.

Issue(s):

Did the employer meet the necessary standard of care when it did not provide goggles to Paris?

Ratio:

Employers have a duty to take reasonable care for worker safety with particular regard to each of their employees’ circumstances.

Analysis:

Duty of an employer towards his servant is to take reasonable care for the servant’s safety in all the circumstances of the case.
** Having one eye is a circumstances in determining precautions

The standard of care is that which an ordinarily prudent employer would take in all the circumstances. In this case:
** Would a reasonable employer supply goggles to a one-eyed workman whose job is to knock bolts out of a chassis with a steel hammer where the chassis is elevated on a ramp at eye level? Yes.
** Must weigh the risk of injury and the extent of the damage in deciding what a reasonable employer would do.

Dissent:
** The duty depends on the occupation: If the occupation is more dangerous, there is more duty of care. The more serious the damage if an accident occurs, the more precautions must be taken.
** In this case, if there is no duty to provide goggles for two-eyed workers, there should not be a duty to provide them to one-eyed workers.
*** 1. The employer was not negligent it not providing goggles to all workers. It was not commonly done; therefore reasonable person/employer test applies;
*** 2 The risk of eye injury to anyone was remote.

Holding:

Appeal allowed. Judgement in favour Paris.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to participate.

This document is a general discussion of certain legal and related issues and must not be relied upon as legal advice. This document may not have been written or reviewed by a legal practitioner. For more information, please see the website Terms of Service.