Star Wars: Producers plead guilty over injury to Harrison Ford

Proof that actors are not immune to the effects of breaches in health and safety legislation came when film legend Harrison Ford was seriously injured during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Like all other employers, film companies are required to take reasonable steps to protect their staff from harm and the actor suffered a broken leg and other injuries when he was struck by a metal door on the set of the Millennium Falcon on 12 June 2014 at Pinewood Studios.

Image: Independent.co.uk

Image: Independent.co.uk

Foodles Production (UK) Ltd, owned by Disney, has today pleaded guilty to failing to protect actors and workers following the incident.  The company faced two charges and the case has now been transferred to Aylesbury Crown Court.

Prosecutor Andrew Marshall told Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court that actor Harrison Ford (who played Han Solo in the film) had walked through the door with another actor before pressing a button.  He thought the set was not live and that the door would stay open.  As Ford began to walk back though the door, it hit Ford in the pelvic area and pinned him to the ground.

The Health and Safety Executive described the force of the accident as being ‘comparable to the weight of a small car’.

Marshall told the court that Ford was lucky to survive, adding: “It could have killed somebody – the fact that it didn’t was because an emergency stop was activated”.

Whilst Ford has yet to comment on today’s hearing, he described the incident previously during an appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show, saying that the door in the original film had been closed by a stage hand and a pulley, but described the new door as closing “at light speed”.

A spokesman for the HSE said:

This was a foreseeable incident. Foodles Production (UK) Ltd has accepted it failed to protect actors and staff and HSE welcomes the firm’s guilty plea.

“Every employer in every industry has a legal duty to manage risks in the workplace. Risks are part and parcel of everyday life, and this is acknowledged by health and safety law – but they still need to be identified and managed in a proportionate way.

“The British film industry has a world renowned reputation for making exceptional films. Managing on-set risks in a sensible and proportionate way for all actors and staff – regardless of their celebrity status – is vital to protecting both on-screen and off-screen talent, as well as protecting the reputation of the industry.”

 

Author: Editorial Team

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