While on the set filming of the latest Star Wars film, it seems Harrison Ford had more to worry about than the Empire after a hydraulic door on the iconic Millennium Falcon failed and crushed its captain, “Han Solo”. The 71-year old actor broke bones in his left leg when a door to the entrance of the ship, pinned him to the ground on the set in London. The responsible production company was charged with two breaches under the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for putting an employee at ‘risk of death’, that was only prevented by the activation of an emergency stop. Guilty pleas were entered by the company, but against a lesser charge, with sentencing in the matter adjourned to October.
A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive 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.”
Consideration of the risks involved in production elements of any event needs to be taken into account and the performers must be treated the same as any other employee when identifying and mitigating risk on set. So, while the show must go on, it must go on within the constraints of any applicable Workplace Health and Safety requirements in mind.