Businesses urged to fear The ‘Ford Factor’ as the HSE awakens

Risk management and health and safety specialist, Gauntlet Risk Management, is telling businesses they should fear what it calls the ‘Ford Factor’, after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that it will prosecute Foodies Production (UK) Ltd, a following on-set injuries suffered by actor, Harrison Ford.

Ford suffered a broken leg and other injuries after being struck by a heavy hydraulic metal door on during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The HSE’s view is that Foodies Production (UK) Ltd did not act within UK health and safety law, which obliges employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers. It has identified four alleged breaches of health and safety law and Foodies Production (UK) Ltd will appear in Court on May 12, to answer the charges.

In another case, an HSE investigation resulted in Westminster Magistrates Court fining glazing company, Ideal Glazing (Euro) Ltd, £36,000. The company was prosecuted because it carried out work at height, with no measures in place to prevent workers falling eight metres. It also dropped part of a window, narrowly missing a pedestrian. In this case, members of the public alerted the HSE to the dangers, having provided photographic evidence of working practices.

Gauntlet health and safety expert, Gary Skews, based at Gauntlet's HQ in Leeds, says: “The HSE has acted decisively in the very high profile case relating to Harrison Ford, but also demonstrated that it is ready to act on information and evidence provided by the public, when breaches of health and safety laws occur. These cases should serve as a warning to other businesses around the UK. The HSE has shown its teeth and this can be viewed as a signal of intent with regard to future judgements and punishments.”

Gauntlet says what it calls the ‘Ford Factor’ should: Encourage businesses to fully understand what the law expects of them when it comes to the protection of workers and members of the public;Force businesses into ensuring they have a full and comprehensive risk assessment in place;Make businesses review their risk assessments and implement all of the actions that have previously been highlighted as being necessary.Gary Skews says: “All businesses need a risk assessment in place and any business employing more than five people must have a written risk assessment. Businesses should also be doing all they can to mitigate risk in and around the workplace.

Any employer ignoring their obligations is playing a dangerous game and our advice is that, if you haven’t analysed all of the risks in your workplace, in a competent and informed way, you should do so with immediate effect. If not, it could be you that is in Court, or suffering a huge financial penalty.” Anyone needing advice on health and safety issues can call Gary Skews on 0113 244 8686. More information about Gauntlet’s health and safety services, for everything from haulage operations, to multi-chain retail, food or leisure businesses, and from golf clubs to property portfolios.

Created on: 19-Feb-16 09:11


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