Ford's Star Wars accident: Film company fined $2.7m

LONDON • A film production company was on Wednesday fined £1.6 million (S$2.7 million) for an accident on the set of the 2015 Star Wars movie in which actor Harrison Ford broke his leg.

Ford, then 71, was injured after he became trapped under a rapidly closing metal-framed door during the filming of The Force Awakens in June 2014 at Pinewood Studios, near London.

The power of the door's drive system was comparable to the weight of a small car, according to Britain's Health and Safety Executive, a state agency which enforces workplace safety regulations.

Prosecutor Andrew Marshall told the court that the door acted like a "blunt guillotine", coming down millimetres from Ford's face and was "capable of killing one or possibly two people".

The Disney-owned Foodles Production (UK) was handed the penalty after it admitted to two breaches of health and safety laws.

Ruling in the case, Judge Francis Sheridan said the company had carried out a risk assessment of the door, but failed to tell Ford about the dangers.

"If you have a risk assessment and you do not communicate it, what is the point of having one?" the judge said. "That is the most serious breach here. If only they had included Mr Ford in all the discussions, he might have at least been alert to the dangers that he had to avoid."

Ford, who plays Han Solo, needed surgery to screw together the fractured tibia and fibula in his left leg and plastic surgery on a "deep laceration" to his left hand.

The door was designed to be remotely closed by a special effects operator, who shut it upon a signal from a spotter.

Judge Sheridan said the operation of the door by someone who could not see the actor going through it was a "crazy approach" to health and safety. "Had the wrong button been pressed, it would have continued to crush down on Mr Harrison Ford. It's just incredible that so much was left to chance."

AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2016, with the headline 'Ford's Star Wars accident: Film company fined $2.7m'. Print Edition | Subscribe