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Producers of Star Wars plead guilty

Date:
26 July 2016

Foodles Production (UK) Ltd has today pleaded guilty to failing to protect actors and workers following an incident in which actor Harrison Ford was seriously injured during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Foodles Production (UK) Ltd is based in Queen Caroline Street, London, and appeared at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court today, 26 July, pleading guilty to two charges. The case has now been transferred to Aylesbury Crown Court, date to be confirmed.

Mr Ford suffered a broken leg and other injuries when he was struck by a metal door on the set of the Millennium Falcon. The incident happened on 12 June 2014 at Pinewood Studios.

A spokesman for HSE said:

“During the filming of Star Wars Episode Seven: The Force Awakens, the actor Harrison Ford was badly injured after he became trapped under a rapidly closing metal-framed door. The power of the door’s drive system was comparable to the weight of a small car.

“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.”

Notes to Editors

  1. In Great Britain there is a duty on employers to protect their workers and those who may be affected by their work under health and safety law. If companies are found to have breached that duty they can face criminal prosecution. If found guilty there are a number of sanctions and penalties and this are determined by the British Court of law rather than HSE. https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/about-the-judiciary/the-justice-system/jurisdictions/criminal-jurisdiction/
  2. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. hse.gov.uk
  3. The two breaches are:
    1. 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.”
    2. 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.”
  4. Criminal proceedings are ongoing and your attention is drawn to the fact that the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act apply to this matter. You will understand that it is not appropriate for HSE to give media interviews until court proceedings are concluded.
  5. You are advised to check the time and date of the hearing with the Court nearer the time to ensure that the case has not been put back.
  6. The Code for Crown Prosecutors sets out the principles for prosecutors to follow when they make enforcement decisions.

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