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Health and Safety to prosecute over squashed Harrison Ford

Star Wars production company due in court

By Lester Haines, 11 Feb 2016

The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced it will prosecute the company allegedly responsible for squashing Harrison Ford during filming of Star Wars: The Forces Awakens.

Ford suffered "a broken leg and other injuries when he was struck by a heavy hydraulic metal door on the set of the Millennium Falcon" at Pinewood Studios back in 2014.

Foodles Production (UK) Ltd - "the company responsible for producing Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens" - will appear at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 12 May for "four alleged breaches of health and safety law".*

An HSE spokesman said: "By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers – this is as true on a film set as a factory floor. We have investigated thoroughly and believe that we have sufficient evidence to bring the case to court."

The Health and Safety Executive is regularly a target of scorn on this side of the Pond, for real or imagined nanny state outrages against common sense. Accordingly, it's been obliged to indulge in some myth-busting to assure citizens that, for example, a report insisting "refuse collection workers in Colchester have been banned from wearing Christmas hats or anything Christmassy on the grounds of health and safety" was actually entirely groundless.

Similarly, the executive categorically denies that burger vans operatives are not allowed to cut burgers in half on health and safety grounds. ®

Bootnote

*The alleged breaches are:

  • Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  • Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
  • Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which states “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of (a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and (b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking, for the purpose of identifying the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.”
  • Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, which states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken in accordance with paragraph (2) which are effective (a) to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or (b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”

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