The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is prosecuting the makers of the box office smash, Star Wars after Harrison Ford broke his ankle during the filming of Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
The actor had to be airlifted to hospital for treatment after a hydraulic door on the Millennium Falcon crushed is leg in June 2014, as well as causing further injuries. Ford recieved £1million in compensation at the time and spent almost two months with his leg in plaster, which also significatnly delayed filming on the blockbuster movie.
However, the HSE recently decided to prosecute the production company after investigations found that the actor was not properly protected during filming. The case will go to court on 12 May, where Foodles Production will face a number of different charges. The HSE released a statement commenting, “The HSE has informed Foodles Production (UK) Ltd 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.”
The case shows that no company is above the law. It also shows how the amount of damages won in such cases tends to be proportional to earnings potential; Ford was paid at least £17 million for reprising his role as Han Solo, and will also receive a proportion of box office takings. The compensation will have been paid by the employer’s liability insurance whereas any fine will be paid by the company itself and is unlikely to bear any relationship to the actor’s salary.
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