Matter of Fact

The question of whether or not the defendant has reached the required standard will depend on the facts of he case, not precedent. These are balanced up in a 'seesaw' style which looks at four key factors.
Likelihood of harm
Seriousness of harm
Burden of precautions
Benefit of the defendant's activity
Likelihood of harm:

Bolton v Stone- The claimant was hit by a cricket ball that had strayed out of the local cricket ground. The ball had travelled 100 yards, over a 17 foot fence, which in 30 years had only occured 6 times. The likelihood of such an accident is very small, therefore there was no liability.

Hayley v LEB - London Electric Board workers were fixing underground cables. Whilst waiting for proper barriers, workers used a long handled hammer to act as a warning. The claimant, a blind man, tripped on the hammer and fell down the hole whilst on his way to work. There was a warning, but it was not suitable for blind people. The area had a high concentration of blind people, so it was likely to happen. LEB were liable.

Seriousness of harm:

Paris v Stepney BC - The claimant was employed by the defendant council in a garage. He was blind in one eye and during an accident he caused he became blind in the other eye. He claimed against the council for lack of safety goggles. They appealed for believing the work not serious enough to require goggles, and contributory negligence. The Court of Appeal agreed, and added that the employer should have realised that Paris was more at risk than others.

This case also shows that employers should have different standards of care towards different employers, which could be seen as making the test more complicated and unfair on both employers and employees.

Withers v Perry Chain - The claimant suffered dermatitis and was given the most grease-free job available in a factory. It was held the defendant was not liable as they had took care, the injury was not very serious and the only other option would be to fire the claimant.

Burden of precautions:

If the cost of eliminating a risk is not in proportion with likelihood or seriousness of harm the defendant will not be liable.

Latimer v AEC Ltd - Exceptionally heavy storms caused a factory to flood and the floor to become slippy. The defendant put down sawdust to prevent slipping but there was not enough due the storm being exceptional. The claimant slipped on an untreated patch of floor and badly injured his ankle.

Benefits of the defendants activity:

Watt v Hertfordshire County Council - A fire department had a call to a serious car accident but he lorry containing the heavy-lifting jack was unavailable. The jack was loaded onto a normal lorry. The claimant, a fireman, was injured when the lorry stopped at light on the way causing the jack to slip.

Lord Denning said the risk must be compared to the emergency of the situation. Sport, education, healthcare and other public services are all considered positive benefits by the court, making a breach less likely.