Several decisions of the Tennessee and sixth federal circuit appellate courts during the survey period dealt with the nature and scope of duties owing by master to servant. A prefatory review of applicable common law principles should aid understanding of these cases.
Broadly categorized, the master's common law obligations to his servant are fivefold. (1) To afford a reasonably safe place to work. The servant must be protected from dangers known to the master or those which might have been discovered by the exercise of reasonable diligence. If the danger is known or patently obvious and appreciated by the servant, he may be found to have assumed the risk. (2) To initially furnish reasonably safe appliances, tools and implements.
Kenneth L. Roberts,
Agency--1959 Tennessee Survey,
12 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol12/iss4/6