The producers of the seventh film in the world-renowned ‘Star Wars’ franchise have been sentenced following health and safety breaches on set. Foodles Production (UK) Ltd (“Foodles”) were fined £1.6 million after actor Harrison Ford was injured during filming at the Buckinghamshire studios in 2014.
As reported in our previous Law Now (available here), a hydraulic metal door on the ‘Millennium Falcon’ spacecraft fell and collided with Mr Ford, who sustained a broken leg and related injuries. The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) described the power behind the door as comparable to the weight of a small car.
Foodles were charged with four breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. In response to the HSE’s decision to prosecute, the producers spoke of their disappointment and asserted their commitment to cast and crew safety. Foodles pleaded guilty in July to two charges under sections 2 and 3(1) of the 1974 Act. The remaining two charges were withdrawn.
In its sentencing, the Court took a highly critical view of the lack of communication at the site. Whilst a risk assessment had been carried out, it was reported that the firm had failed to communicate the findings to Mr Ford. The Judge found this to be the “most serious” health and safety breach contributing to the incident. Employers are to be reminded that not only must a risk assessment be carried out, but it must be appropriately actioned and communicated.