The production company which caused an accident that injured actor Harrison Ford is awaiting sentencing after it pleaded guilty to two health and safety breaches.
The accident, which happened on set of the most recent Star Wars movie, left Mr Ford pinned to the ground with a broken leg and the accident could have been much worse had a member of film crew not acted quickly in turning off the power to the door driver mechanism.
The door, which was a part of the scenery rather than a genuine access point, was powered with a motor which was far too powerful for the job it was needed to do and should not have been live during rehearsals. While the accident broke the actor’s leg, it was claimed that the door moved with the force of a small car and could have killed anybody it hit. Instead the door hit Mr Ford in the hip and pinned him to the floor until another member of staff on the set was able to switch the power off and release the actor.
Foodles Production, the company responsible for the building and installation of the door. The company was originally charged with four breaches of Health and Safety legislation, however, two of these charges were incorporated into two overarching charges under sections two and three of the health and safety at work act 1973 which covered employers believed to be endangering the health of an employee and endangering the health of somebody not employed by the company.
Although Foodles accepted responsibility, Angus Withington, mitigating, said that although they company accepted the accident was preventable and it was their fault, the risk wasn’t as bad as the prosecution’s legal team made it appear. The HSE said that it was glad of the guilty plea, but that the incident had been foreseeable. A spokesman said: “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.”
Rope and Pulley
Speaking in an interview with Jonathan Ross shortly after the incident, Ford said that back when the original trilogy was filmed, the door would have been simply operated by a stage hand with a rope and pulley. “But now we had lots of money and technology and so they built a f—— great hydraulic door which closed at light-speed,”
Nick Perkins of the Door and Hardware Federation said “As this court case shows, owners and all those responsible for powered access systems and equipment could face prosecution in the event of an incident at one of their sites. They should also be aware that installers and maintainers are also bound by criminal legislation to ensure that all work, whether on a new or an existing access system, is safe.”
Foodles Production, a subsidiary of the Disney Corporation admitted responsibility and was due to be sentenced on August 22, however, sentencing won’t happen now until October due to both parties not being ready, according to a court spokesperson.