The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Thursday, 24 October

Building Site Death and Star Wars Fine

A building contractor has been fined after a worker was killed when a load fell from a tower crane during a lifting operation in Colchester.

Urban Summit Construction Ltd was the Principal Contractor on a construction site at King Edward Quay, Haven Road, Colchester, where 780 student accommodation apartments were being built.

On 8 January 2014, during a lifting operation using the site’s tower crane, a load become detached from the chains and landed on the Banksman who was in charge of the operation. David Holloway, 35, sustained extensive injuries and died on site.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Urban Summit Construction Ltd at Colchester Magistrates Court after an investigation found the company failed to ensure that lifting operation was carried out in a safe manner.

Urban Summit Construction Ltd of 15 California, Little Downham, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 2UF, were fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £29,127 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 8 (1)(c) of The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David King said: “It is essential that lifting operations are carried out in a safe manner, to help ensure the lift is carried out without risk to those in the area. Lifting operations must be properly planed by a competent person, carried out by adequately trained persons, and with appropriate supervision.”

“Guidance on carrying out lifting operations safely is freely available on HSE’s website, if this company had properly planned and supervised this work, this tragic incident could have been avoided”

 

Star Wars film maker fined £1.6 million for injuring Harrison Ford

The makers of Star Wars: The Force Awakens have been sentenced after failing to protect the actors and workers while on set during filming at Pinewood Studio, Slough, Buckinghamshire.

Harrison Ford suffered a broken leg and deep lacerations when he was knocked off his feet and pinned to the floor of the Millennium Falcon set, as a prop door closed on him. 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.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard how a combination of preventable events, starting with how the door was designed, led to the incident.

During dress rehearsals on the 12 June 2014 Harrison Ford walked back towards the entrance ramp of the Millennium Falcon and pressed the prop door button to ‘close’ the door. As the cameras were not rolling he did not expect it to close. The production crew member who was operating the prop believed they were in full rehearsal and closed the door.

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.

The risk of the door causing a serious injury or death had been highlighted by one of the health and safety officers for the production company. Foodles Production (UK) Ltd should have put a system in place to ensure the actors and production workers were protected. A different design with inbuilt safety features or using a different material could have guarded against any possible miscommunication on a busy film set.

Foodles Production (UK) Ltd, who had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to Section 2 and Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, were today fined £1.6 million and ordered to pay costs of £20,861.22 at Aylesbury Crown Court.

HSE’s Divisional Director Tim Galloway said: “This incident was foreseeable and preventable and could have resulted in more serious injury or even death.

“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.

“I think everyone would accept that all the people who work in the film industry have a right to know that the risks they take to entertain us, including when making action movies, are properly managed and controlled.”

Picture: Harrison Ford was injured on the Star Wars set

 

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

Share



Related Articles

Jail Time for Cost Cutting Killers. Whitbread in Hot Water Apology

Three company directors were jailed on May 19 following the death of a man who fell while working at a warehouse in Essex. Nikolai Valkov, 63, died in hospital after...

 Read Full Article
Safety Fines Reflect Size of Guilty Firms

A construction company has been fined £3/4 million for asbestos failings; another for a falling load crush; another for a trench collapse; and another for an...

 Read Full Article
Man Paralysed by Falling Pipes

An Essex company specialising in gas infrastructure have been fined after an employee suffered a serious injury when a pipe fell into the trench he was working in and...

 Read Full Article
Crushing Fine for Airport Death

A construction firm has been sentenced following the death of Philip Griffiths at Heathrow Airport in October 2014. Southwark Crown Court heard that Philip’s...

 Read Full Article
Falling Frames Kill Lawyer - Men Convicted

A man has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence after a woman walking past a construction site died when three window frames weighing more than half a ton...

 Read Full Article
One Dead, One Injured in Lift Car Plunge Tragedy

A company and a self employed contractor have been fined for safety failings after one man died and another was left seriously injured falling six storeys through a lift...

 Read Full Article
Falls and Walls Cost Constructors

Construction company Kier Construction Limited has been fined £400,000 after a worker fell from height. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how Jair...

 Read Full Article
No Getting Off the Hook After Lift Pit Tumble

Cardiff based construction company, Jehu Project Services Ltd, sentenced on August 16 after a worker was seriously injured falling down a lift pit. The incident...

 Read Full Article
The Rights and Wrongs Of Prohibition Notices

The Supreme Court has recently decided that where a Prohibition Notice is served and subsequently found to be unfounded, the Notice can be rescinded or modified but the...

 Read Full Article
NHS Trusts In The Dock - Legionella and Lone Worker Fatality Convictions

Royal United Hospitals (Bath) NHS Foundation Trust has (in week ending December 15) pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act...

 Read Full Article