Beney, for the ordinary man. Lynskey, J., treated this

Beney, K.C., R.M.H. Everett and Fox – Andrews for the appellant
workman, stated that the employers had a duty of care towards the employee, and
were required to provide the employee with the goggles in order to ensure the
protection of his eyes. As R.M.H Everett states that there is no question that
was work was dangerous for the ordinary man. Lynskey, J., treated this case as
a fortiori to the case of the man with two eyes. Had it been necessary to
decide it he might well have held that this was a dangerous process for
ordinary people.1 On
the other hand, H. Edmund Davies, K.C., and Alan Stevenson for the respondent
employers stated that the employers need only to take into account of any
disability that increases the risk of an incident occurring. They also
emphasise the fact that the Appellant was able to carry out the task of a
two-eyed man, thus the employers did not owe any duty of care to him, as they
suggest that the possibility of an accident is not enough to establish
as it is made evident that throughout his career as a garage hand did not face
or complain of any difficulties.


In the
House of Lords, the Judges had different reasoning’s behind their Judgement but
they all came to the same conclusion that the employer should have taken into
account the claimant’s disability and owed him the duty of care of providing
him with safety goggles to ensure the protection of his only ‘good’ eye.

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Simonds, states that the defendant becomes liable in tort with his failure to
foresee a dangerous hazard, it was the duty of the Defendant to supply the
claimant with suitable eye protection whilst undertaking such work which can
result in severe injuries. However, Lord Simonds was in favour of the defendants
as Charles Boden and several other employees describe that it became the norm
to conduct such work in the workplace without suitable protection as they state
that they had never seen any mechanic undertake this sort of work equipped with
the proper precautions of safety goggles, as well as stating that it became “natural
to get in there without protection”.3 Lord Simonds emphasises
that the defendant did have a greater duty of care to the claimant due to the
gravity of the injury which is the relevant circumstance to this situation,
however, he continues to develop his argument by going against the decision
made by the Court of Appeal, as he states Judge Lynskey ‘ignored
a consideration which was essential to a proper determination of the duty of
the Respondents to the Appellant. If the gravity of the damage is relevant, so
also is the seriousness of the risk’.4


Lord Normand said: ‘If there is no proof that a precaution is usually observed
by other persons, a reasonable and prudent man will follow the usual practice
in the like circumstances. Failing such proof, the test is whether the
precaution is one which the reasonable and prudent man would think to obvious
that it was folly to omit it.’ An employer must take into account any
particular susceptibility of the employee of which he is or ought to be aware.
5 Moreover, Lord Oaksey completely
agrees to the opinion of Lord Normand. In this case the employer has breached
their duty of care, the employer was required to take extra care with the employee
due to the fact that he only had one eye. The circumstances suggest that should
anything happen to the employee’s good eye, he is to go completely blind and only
a prudent employer would therefore provide its employee with the necessary
safety precautions, to ensure they are carrying and wearing suitable safety goggles
in order to protect the eyes.


Overall the ratio of the case was that the employers have
a duty of care towards the employee due to the circumstances. An ordinary
prudent employer takes reasonable care towards their employee by ensuring that
they are supplied with goggles especially to their one-eyed employee, where the
risk is the same but the injury is greater. However, it is also argued that in
this case there was no duty for the employer to provide goggles to their
workers, as Charles Boden states that in 37 years he has never seen any mechanic
wear goggles for this line of work, thus suggesting that if no requirement to
wear a goggle is given to two eyed men then there is no duty to provide goggles
to a one-eyed man.

1 Paris v Stepney Borough Council 1950 UKHL 3, 1951 AC 367, 1951 1
All ER 42 (HL) 372

2 Paris v Stepney Borough Council 1950 UKHL 3, 1951 AC 367, 1951 1
All ER 42 (HL) 372

3 Paris v Stepney Borough Council 1950 UKHL 3, 1951 AC 367, 1951 1
All ER 42 (HL) 369

4 Paris v Stepney Borough Council 1950 UKHL 3, 1951 AC 367, 1951 1
All ER 42 (HL) 381