The Court of Appeal told an employee to "use common sense" after he sued Sheffield City Council for failing to carry out a suitable risk assessment.
The employee, a refuse collector, fell and injured his elbow while attempting to pull a wheelie bin up a ramp at a 30-degree angle.
The bin was from a row of houses set below the level of the road, with concrete ramps from the houses to the road.
The Court of Appeal found in favour of the council and dismissed the employee's claim for damages in Alsop v Sheffield City Council.
The court found, in the circumstances, the council could only have told its employees to use common sense.
It said Alsop should have made use of the options available to him, such as pulling the wheelie bin to where the houses were level with the road.
Manjit Virdee of Davies Lavery said the decision showed the courts adopting a commonsense approach in recognising that it is impractical to expect each and every task undertaken by an employee to be evaluated.
"It remains to be seen if the courts will continue with and perhaps expand upon this line of thought," he said.