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Enlarge / According to the HSE, "The door’s steel frame was overlaid with sheets of metal and had a tapered edge. It’s operation moved from ceiling to floor in a sharp downward motion. It did not have any automated safety mechanisms to cut out if a person was unexpectedly under the door."
Last week, the British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fined one of the production companies behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens $1.95 million (£1.6 million) for failing to protect its employees.
The accusation was launched by the British regulatory agency after Harrison Ford’s leg was broken by a hydraulic door on the movie’s set.
Foodles Production, a British subsidiary of Disney, was sued by the HSE in February, and the production company admitted guilt in July.
The incident took place in 2014, when Ford was 71, and he had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment. In a July notice, the HSE stated that the weight of the hydraulic door that crushed Ford’s leg “was comparable to the weight of a small car.” The attorney prosecuting the case against Foodles claimed that a production crew operator, believing the cast was in full rehearsal when it was not, accidentally engaged the hydraulic door while Ford was in its path.
According to the attorney, the only reason the actor didn’t sustain more injuries was because the operator hit an emergency stop button.
In a notice last week, the British regulator explained: “HSE’s investigation found that there was no automatic emergency cut off, to protect those on set, instead relying on the reactions of the prop operator(s) to bring the door to a stop.”
HSE’s Divisional Director Tim Galloway added that “the power and speed of the door was such that, had Mr.
Ford or anyone else had been struck on the head by the door as it closed, they might easily have been killed. It was only the almost instantaneous actions of the prop operator in hitting the emergency stop that prevented the door from continuing to press down on Mr Ford as he lay on the floor.”
Listing image by HSE