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Corn v Weirs Glass (Hanley) Ltd, [1960] 2 A11 ER 300, CA


Employers breach of statutory duty. Not the cause of injury Guardrails etc for working platforms, gangways, runs and stairs.



Act, Regulation or Reference:

Building (Safety, Health and Welfare) Regulations 1948

Date: 1997


The stairs in a building that was being erected had no hand- rail. Corn., who was employed by the defendants as a glazier, was descending the stairs carrying a sheet of glass measuring about 5’ by 2’ft 6”. It required the use of both arms. He was holding the sheet in the crook of his right arm, and was steadying it with his left arm. He over-balanced and fell over the side of the stairs and was injured. There was no handrail on the stairway.

The Decision

A distinction is to be drawn between a "hand-rail" as prescribed by the Building (Safety, Health and Welfare) Regulations 1948 Reg. 27(1), and "guard-rails" required to be provided by Reg. 27(2). A handrail connotes a rail that can be gripped by the hand. Such a rail need not necessarily act as a physical barrier.
Held, although there was a breach of Reg. 27(1) the defendants were not liable, because Corn. had failed to prove that his injury was caused by the defendants' breach of statutory duty.


It was shown that, as both of his hands were involved in holding the glass, a handrail would not have been of use to him anyway. It was held, the absence of the handrail was not the cause of the injury.