News this week indicates that the Health and Safety at Work Act extends, not only to the whole of the UK, but (yes, we are using artistic licence) also to galaxies far, far away!
On Thursday, the Health and Safety Executive announced that four criminal charges for health and safety breaches are to be brought against Foodles Production.
The charges are in connection with an incident on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in June 2014 in which Harrison Ford suffered a broken leg.
Whilst reprising the legendary role of Hans Solo, Ford was hit by a hydraulic metal door within the Millennium Falcon set at Pinewood Studios, airlifted to hospital (details of which spaceship was used have not been disclosed, nor whether Chewbacca went with him) and filming was halted for 2 months while he made a full recovery and then returned to the set.
The charges have been brought under s2 and s3 of the Act, Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 following an investigation by the HSE. A statement issued by HSE stated that:
“By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers – this is as true on a film set as a factory floor.”
The case serves as a reminder for all employers – whatever the industry – of the importance of compliance with health and safety legislation in the workplace, in particular, of ensuring risk assessments are carried out and that equipment is safe to use.