A court has heard that the accident on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that broke Harrison Ford’s left leg could have been fatal.
Ford was filming Episode VII of Star Wars at Pinewood Studio in London at the time of the incident. While waiting around the set of the Millennium Falcon spaceship, a hydraulic door slammed shut on Ford, which pinned the actor to the floor and broke his left leg in two places. Health and safety officials, who said the door weighed the equivalent of a small car, deemed that the incident could have been fatal if the emergency stop hadn’t been activated in time.
Andrew Marshall, one of the team prosecuting Foodles Production over the incident, said: “It could have killed somebody. The fact that it didn’t was because an emergency stop was activated.”
On a talk show in December last year, Ford described the incident: “The door came down and hit me on my left hip because I was turned to my right. And then it flung my left leg up and it dislocated my ankle and as it drove me down to the floor, my legs slapped on the ramp up to the Millennium Falcon and broke both bones in my left leg.”
The production company responsible for the set, Foodles, pleaded guilty to two counts under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 — one related to breach of duty for its own employees and another for those not under its employ. Companies wishing to cover themselves against expensive lawsuits like this one, should have adequate levels of employers' liability insurance in place.
A representative of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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.”
Foodles Production will be sentenced in August 2016.