In the past few weeks, there has been the sad news of two stunt people losing their lives whilst working on high profile television shows and movies. It has also been reported that Tom Cruise broke his ankle while working on the set of Mission Impossible 6.
These three examples shine a spotlight on the dangers face by employees during the course of their employment. While these individuals worked in environments are a bit different to most, their injuries and deaths highlight ongoing problems with health and safety at work face by all.
According to the most recent figures recorded by the Health and Safety Executive, 137 people were killed due to work related activities while a further 72,702 other employees sustained an injury which was reported under RIDDOR. In addition, 1.3 million working people are suffering from a work-related illness. In this day and age, these statistics are unacceptable.
An employer is under a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees. Legally, they must abide by relevant health & safety laws as well as the common law duty of care. An employer must take steps which are reasonably practical to prevent a risk of illness, injury or death to their employees. This does not mean they have to remove every possible risk. There must be a foreseeable risk of injury for an employer to be expected to take steps to prevent the injury from occurring.
Tom Cruise’s accident occurred when he was jumping from one building to another while harnessed. It is understood he was performing a stunt for the movie. As he was making the jump, he collided with the side of the building resulting in him sustaining an injury to his ankle. Prior to this stunt being undertaken, his employers would have carried out a risk assessment to assess the risk of an injury occurring. They should have also ensured that the necessary health and safety regulations had been complied with to take steps to prevent an accident occurring.
Clearing something went wrong when the stunt did not go to plan therefore his employers will now have to look at the cause of the accident and what can be done to prevent future injury. They will have had to fill out the appropriate accident report and they will have to make a report to the Health & Safety Executive as it is expected Mr Cruise will be unable to return to filming for approximately three months.
The statistics from the HSE speak for themselves as they clearly show the number of people who are suffer at the hands of employers who are failing in their duty. Tom Cruise’s recent accident draws attention to the fact that the safety of employees is disregarded on a regular basis and this is not good enough.
Blog by Eilish Lindsay