HSE charges against Foodles for Harrison Ford injury
12 February 2016
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) plans to bring four charges against Foodles Production (UK) following an incident in which Hollywood actor Harrison Ford broke his leg while filming Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.
The charges come in the wake of the new Sentencing Council guidelines for health and safety offences, which came into force from 1 February 2016. From this date on, large companies could face fines of more than £10million for the most serious health and safety offences.
The accident took place at Buckingham-based Pinewood Studios, when the 71 year old actor was hit by a hydraulic door on the set of the Millennium Falcon.
A spokesman for HSE said: “HSE has today informed Foodles Production (UK) that it will be prosecuted over four alleged breaches of health and safety law. The charges relate to an incident during filming of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which left Harrison Ford with serious injuries after he was hit by a heavy hydraulic door.
“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.”
Danny McShee, health and safety specialist partner at international law firm Kennedys, said: “New Health & Safety sentencing guidelines were brought in at the start of this month which represent a sea change in health and safety law in the UK, with hugely increased fines introduced in for companies convicted of offences.
“In the space of just six days in January 2016, four UK companies were sentenced to pay fines of £1m or more following convictions for offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA). It is notable that the sentences were all imposed prior to the introduction of the new guidelines, but clearly they were considered in anticipation of the guidelines.
“Foodles Production (UK) may not face as severe penalties, but it will certainly be an eye catching H&S case.” A summary of the sentencing changes is available at: www.kennedyslaw.com/article/hse-sentencing-changes.