Film company pleads guilty to Star Wars safety blunder

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A major production company owned by Disney has pleaded guilty to a number of health and safety breaches that saw Hollywood star Harrison Ford suffer a broken leg.

The 71-year-old Star Wars actor was partially crushed during shooting when he was pinned to the floor by a hydraulic door on the set of the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

Director JJ Abrams was also injured in the incident, breaking a bone in his back while attempting to lift the heavy door.

Now, Foodles Production (UK) has admitted two breaches under health and safety law over the incident – a further two charges were dropped by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  

Prosecutor Andrew Marshall claimed there has been a “risk of death” to the actor.
“It could have killed somebody,” he stressed. “The fact that it didn't was because an emergency stop was activated.”

While Foodles accepted the charges, the company rejected claims that the incident fell into the most series of risk categories.

“We don't accept the category that the Health and Safety Executive has placed it in but accept that by the virtue of the size of the company that the matter should be heard by a crown court judge,” said lawyer Angus Withington.

The charges say Foodles erred in the design and manufacture of the hydraulic equipment and failed to carry out a risk assessment for actors using the equipment.

“By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers – this is as true on a film set as a factory floor,” said a representative for the HSE.

The company will be sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court on August 22.

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