back to article Health and Safety to prosecute over squashed Harrison Ford

The UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced it will prosecute the company allegedly responsible for squashing Harrison Ford during filming of Star Wars: The Forces Awakens. Ford suffered "a broken leg and other injuries when he was struck by a heavy hydraulic metal door on the set of the Millennium Falcon" at …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The response to "Throw me the hydrospanner"

    Duly employed and tax-subjected Wookie personnel lets out an ululating moan, which can be translated as:

    Excuse me sir, this is strictly forbidden as per regulation. I can only hand it to you in a deliberate manner using a firm two-handed grip while securely standing on a stable platform. I do not think that this here "Millenium Falcon", perilously set on a careening asteroid, which is moreover in a very irregular situation that can be summarily described as "shields are down and so is the hyperdrive" would count as "stable platform". I will also remark that nobody is wearing the required safety hats. Oh, and we have an illegal human/female passenger on board that is actively sought by law enforcement, a problem that I have wanted to bring up for some time. I expect immediate remediation of the situation.

    "FOR GOD'S SAKE, WOOKIE!!"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The response to "Throw me the hydrospanner"

      I think the Wookie was only hired as a polically correct requirement to have a minimum number of visible minorities as spacecraft crew

  2. Graham Cunningham
    Joke

    ** spoiler alert **

    Shouldn't they be more concerned about the behavior of his son?

  3. DougS Silver badge

    Hydraulic door?

    Too bad they didn't operate the doors like the original Star Trek did - manually operated by stagehands hidden off camera!

    1. Steve Aubrey

      Re: Hydraulic door?

      Plus sound affects in post-production.

      1. Robert Simmons
        Coat

        Re: Hydraulic door?

        <Pedant Mode>

        *effects

        </Pedant Mode>

        1. Steve Aubrey
          Unhappy

          Re: Hydraulic door?

          Robert, please shoot me. I know the difference. I have called others on the difference. I didn't proofread.

          Mea maxima culpa.

          1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

            Re: Hydraulic door?

            Its OK nobody got hurt. Do try to be more careful though, next time someone could lose an 'i'.

      2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
        Coat

        Re: Hydraulic door / apost-production sound effect

        Are you sure? This was the 1960ies after all - maybe the guys who moved the doors also had to make the swishing sound?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hydraulic door?

        "Plus sound affects in post-production."

        AUGH! SHEEETT!

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Hydraulic door?

      > manually operated by stagehands hidden off camera

      Actually, I hear that's what happened. A tech activated the sliding door on the Falcon set at the wrong time and crunched his leg. I have never heard more details though. That's pieces from various interviews.

      1. Dan Wilkie

        Re: Hydraulic door?

        The ones in star trek were pushed and pulled by hand though.

        Which would have no doubt knocked chunks off the budget if they did that for all the ones in this film to be fair.

  4. Captain TickTock
    Joke

    He was lucky it wasn't worse

    transporting rathtars without a license. Just asking for trouble.

  5. Adam 52 Silver badge

    The trouble with the HSE is that they like to debunk the myths but if anyone is actually injured by a Christmas party hat then they will prosecute. That's why people are scared into making silly rules.

    1. Graham Marsden

      > if anyone is actually injured by a Christmas party hat then they will prosecute. That's why people are scared into making silly rules.

      No, the HSE requires businesses to take "reasonable steps" to prevent accidents or injury.

      See http://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/index.htm

      They will only prosecute if there is evidence of, or reasonable grounds to suspect negligence.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Right. Like for allowing school pupils to make fireworks, or for a *walkway* being unable to support vehicle traffic, or for a *private* garden having a molehill that broke a trespassers foot.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >Right. Like for allowing school pupils to make fireworks, or for a *walkway* being unable to support vehicle traffic, or for a *private* garden having a molehill that broke a trespassers foot.

          @Adam - most of those are stories that come from dim people misinterpreting HSE guidelines.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            "most of those are stories that come from dim people misinterpreting HSE guidelines."

            most of those are stories that come from dim people using HSE as an excuse because they are worried about their insurance policy.

            FTFY

            (And maybe rightly so in some case. Those insurance lizards will use any excuse to get out of paying up,)

        2. Triggerfish

          @Adam 52

          Actually I was more thinking along the lines of making sure everyone knows there is people actually inside the large bits of machine full of grindy wheels and crushy rollers.

          Or making sure the 7 ton chunk of machinery you are shifting is properly secured even if it takes more time to make those checks, since a hard hat does fuck all when something like that drops on you from twenty feet.

          Working a height rules are quite useful as well, you'd be amazed and I will say this myself (as someone who has broken them) how easy it is to sometimes ignore them just to get to something thirty feet up along a support beam thats a few inches wide, roping up takes time.

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        The HSE website has a list of their prosecutions. In amongst the usual industrial accidents and cowboy builders are the 20-20 hindsight cases I mentioned. They're all real, not Daily Mail horror stories.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The trouble with the HSE is ... nothing.

      The rate of fatal working injuries is now one sixth of the rate in 1974. Personally I think all employees have a right not to be killed or injured in the course of their work. If there's a few silly and self imposed rules about Christmas hats, then that's a price I'm willing to pay for the fact that every year we kill 450 less people at work than we used to.

      Most of the people reading this are (like me) lucky that they work in nice safe offices or server rooms, often for companies that take their health and their safety seriously, others aren't so lucky, and need people like the HSE to try and help them.

      The Fail might bleat on about "elf & safety gawn mad", but I raise a glass to the HSE, who have been doing a great job with little thanks for years.

      1. Triggerfish

        Having worked on a few sites with plenty of dangerous machinery, and moving very heavy steel toe caps wont save you objects about. I have to agree, it stops people sometimes being silly to save time. Check some countries without HSE and see what they can be like.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Is that due to HSE or to the loss of the mining, fishing, quarrying, steel and other dangerous industries?

        The HSE has done a lot to make dangerous jobs less dangerous - but there are a lot fewer of those jobs

        1. Triggerfish

          "Is that due to HSE or to the loss of the mining, fishing, quarrying, steel and other dangerous industries?

          The HSE has done a lot to make dangerous jobs less dangerous - but there are a lot fewer of those jobs"

          I'd say general economics make it expensive to pay people UK rates for mining, and yes HSE does effect those costs to some degree.

          Having also been in non working UK mine here (recommend National Coal Mining Museum for England, ex miners take you down its fascinating and very entertaining), its dangerous and shitty conditions that have been made safer but it's still not a great working environment.

          Compare it with a mine in somewhere like Potosi in Bolivia though, where arsenic actually drips from the ceiling, drunk miners, dynamite, lung disease that kills a lot of people by their mid thirties, and falling down mineshafts are considered day to day parts of the job, and you realise you don't want our goverment having that casual attitude to corporate responsobility.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Wasn't blaming the HSE, I worked in mining here in Canada and the safety regs are very strict (much more so than the USA)

            But claiming that the accident rate drop is due to them is like me claiming that the rate of deaths due to Viking attacks is down to the local council's new CCTV system. 1st millennium, no CCTV - lots of raids. 2nd millennium, CCTV introduced - fewer raids, 3rd massive surveillance - no vikings.

            1. Triggerfish

              So what has caused accident rates to drop if it is not safer working practices?

            2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Accident rate / correlations / Y A A c

              Somewhat off-topic, but as we're on the subject of correlations*, here is a nice one:

              Age of Miss America correlates with murders by steam and hot objects

              http://boingboing.net/2016/02/03/age-of-miss-america-correlates.html

              *Correlation vs causality is just one of the things that get me started, sorry.

              Oh, and I'm totally stealing the CCTV / Viking attacks argument.

          2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            lower accident rates

            "Is that due to HSE or to the loss of the mining, fishing, quarrying, steel and other dangerous industries?"

            Don't fall into the zero-sum-game trap - it's BOTH.

      3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        On this side of the Pond, our equivalent OSHA is rather small agency, much smaller than the EPA. The OSHA regulations, when you step back, generally make sense and are relatively easy to understand. Both are very rare with the ferals.

        The problem with any regulatory agency is prevent mission creep into areas where they have marginal competence and the effects of the regulations are more likely to be counter productive.

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "The Fail might bleat on about "elf & safety gawn mad", but I raise a glass to the HSE, who have been doing a great job with little thanks for years."

        The Fail bleats on in a lot of cases with good reason. H&S is frequently used as an excuse to avoid doing things and it gets on the HSE's tits - so much so that they actually sponsor a national conkers event to make a point.

  6. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Are all employer liable?

    "... to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”

    So how does that work when the employer is the M.O.D. and the machinery in question is a machine-gun in hostile territory?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Are all employer liable?

      AFAIK the M.O.D has a "sort-off" waiver for 'elth un safe'y, but ONLY during combat situations. Which could lead to the ridiculous situation that in training soliers are told: "In combat, pull this, throw that and have at it. But since this is training would you now all please don your safety goggles as I demonstrate the most roundabout way of going about things possible"

      1. grumpyoldeyore

        Re: Are all employer liable?

        Recent case : http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/14/sas-march-organisers-face-prosecution-after-verdict-of-neglect-over-deaths

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Are all employer liable?

        >AFAIK the M.O.D has a "sort-off" waiver for 'elth un safe'y, but ONLY during combat situations.

        Indeed, I've heard of UK military compounds where it is compulsory for car drivers to reverse-park into parking bays. It is good practise - you are less likely to knock into a pedestrian whilst reversing into a bay than you are reversing out of a bay and into a thoroughfare.

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: Are all employer liable?

          And it wouldn't be a good idea in a combat zone? If you're considering using a parking bay, you're not in immediate danger, but preparing for a quick getaway when things go bad would be advisable, surely? And driving forwards makes it easier to deliberately knock into pedestrians, when circumstances warrant...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are all employer liable?

        Some countries don't have health and safety oversight for their troop training - look at something like the Spetznatz or the Blue Berets as an example. As a result they're very good. But a much higher percentage die in training, and a higher percentage still are seriously injured.

        When a single unit of your special forces is larger than the entire British army you can afford to be blasé about training losses. I for one am glad it's not something I had to worry about. And the jury is still out as to whether it makes them better troops. Most of our special forces will have already seen combat before they make it through selection in the first place, and the SBS seem to do just fine.

    2. Don Dumb
      Alert

      Re: Are all employer liable?

      @Cynic_999 - "So how does that work when the employer is the M.O.D. and the machinery in question is a machine-gun in hostile territory?"

      "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable,"

      Yes, the MOD does have to take reasonably practicable steps, even in war, this equally applies to the Police Force in shootouts, Fire Service in firefighting etc.

      Google 'Coroner report MOD' and you will see examples where the government has been found to not have taken such reasonable steps, even in places like Iraq.

      Basically, in a warzone (or police shootout) you can't stop your enemy shooting at you but you can take many steps to make it less dangerous -

      intelligence to understand the threats/risks; armour protection to reduce the risk of the bullets causing damage; equipment appropriate for the situation & location; years of planning, tactics and training to reduce the chance of it happening and deal with the situation if it does; medical evacuation and support in place to treat injuries; desicion making that takes into account the risks (of say going on an assault) weighed against the need to act (do you need to do the assault? or with the intended approach?)

      - if the employer (MOD, Police force, fire service, etc) hasn't done any of these to the level of 'reasonably practicable' then they will be found cupable.

      The principle is that you cannot eliminate danger, especially in a warzone, so you don't make things more dangerous than they need to be. The key has always been - Understand the dangers, try and reduce them and consider very carefully about whether doing things are worth the risk that remains.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Are all employer liable?

        "

        Basically, in a warzone (or police shootout) you can't stop your enemy shooting at you but you can take many steps to make it less dangerous -

        "

        My point was rather how do you ensure the safety of the enemy? After all, if the enemy kill you, that's a failing of their H&S. But if an enemy soldier wanders into dangerous fast-moving bullets from your machine-gun, that's surely down to a H&S failure on your part.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "What a piece of junk!"

    What about Mr Ford, has he sued for compensation yet?

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: "What a piece of junk!"

      I should imagine he wouldn't and has probably just put it down to a wookie mistake.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "What a piece of junk!"

      On one of the Indiana Jones movies Mr Ford was keen to do his own stunts... until a stunt man pointed out that it was doing him out of work. Mr Ford was, by all accounts, genuinely embarrassed that this hadn't occurred to him.

      (Remember he started out as a carpenter on a movie set).

      (For a very young looking Mr Ford, search Google Images for "Terminate With Extreme Prejudice")

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "What a piece of junk!"

        On one of the Indiana Jones movies Mr Ford was keen to do his own stunts... until a stunt man pointed out that it was doing him out of work. Mr Ford was, by all accounts, genuinely embarrassed that this hadn't occurred to him.

        It says a heck of a lot about his character that he was embarrassed about that. That's why he's A-list rather than A-hole. Having said that, some feel an obligation because of a genuine search for authenticity, so there are arguments for both sides here.

        I personally don't mind either, as long as it's done right.

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Holmes

    But what if.....

    Han stepped first?

  9. Andy Non Silver badge
    Coat

    Broken leg?

    I'd be more concerned about being frozen in carbonite.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Broken leg?

      Being frozen in carbonite is perfectly safe when adhering to the health & safety rules.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    Darth said it best...

    "Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of Health & Safety."

  12. Shades

    Trebles all around...

    Any fine will just be added to the list of reasons why the film "didn't make a profit", movie studios like that kind of thing.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Trebles all around...

      The BBC reported it as being a criminal prosecution, so penalties beyond fines are possible.

  13. Mikel

    The rule is

    Don't let your workers get hurt. Don't tell Jackie Chan.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: The rule is

      I seem to remember at one point Jackie chan had Chinese stuntmen not just for the speed they could handle in the fight choroegraphy, but also because insurance considerations weren't so stringent compared with the US.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: The rule is

        I was under the impression that Jackie Chan underwrote his own film because he couldn't get conventional insurance.

        Still, it would seem that nobody has been injured more in Jackie Chan films than Jackie himself (I've tried looking online to see if any of his employees have been seriously injured on set, but I can't see past the "Jackie Chan's Top Ten Injuries"-type articles.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: The rule is

          Yeah to be fair he is the employer who when he says things like I wouldn't ask you to do something dangerous if I wasn't willing myself, can actually show you the x-rays and doctors bills to prove it.

          I do like some of the Asian Martial Arts movies, there's a great bit at the end of Chocolate, where in the outtakes (which are painful looking) they are all waving happily from around a stuntmans hospital bed that sums up what working on those films must be like. (Good film as well).

  14. grumpyoldeyore

    Thr but for...

    You may laugh - but doors can be fatal.

    http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2016/01/09/stage-door-boss-is-charged-with-manslaughter-over-concert-venue-deaths1132717/

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New title then?

    Star Wars: Health & Safety Awakens?

    Question, though: this was ages ago, so why now? More profits to take from?

  17. Norm DePlume

    I have a bad feeling about this...

  18. Dig

    HSE Myths are nonsense.

    Of course the items they quote aren't specifically covered by health and safety there are very few specific rules about this apart from duty of care by both the employer and employee, so risk assessments and appropriate actions etc.

    The no salt with tequilla example is a case in point. Of courses there is no rule that covers this but perhaps the bar found that spilled salt was causing a slippage problem in the bar after a heavy session and customers had been falling. The action they take could be to clean up rather than ban it, but perhaps putting out signs to trip over and mopping the floor in a busy nightclub would be impractical, or using one of those urinal mats and equal tripping hazard or just plain ugly, hence the decision to stop the practice.

    You could bet a customer slipping over on a salt spillage and hurting themselves would sue the bar for allowing the floor to become slippy.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Date with the Magistrate

    Let's hope someone sees fit to move the court date to May the 4th.

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