...being injured on set
With the second series of Poldark now upon us, lead actor Aidan Turner has revealed how he and a crew member suffered injuries during filming off the Cornish coast.
Set in a poverty-stricken 1783 Cornwall, the show features stunning scenery and bold heroics from title character Ross Poldark, but the admission from Turner highlights some of the dangers involved in the production of the hit BBC drama.
Accident at Sea
Before the second series aired, Turner explained how a freak wave off the Cornish coast had the potential to cause serious injury.
While filming in the sea during tricky winter conditions, Turner’s alter-ego was lifting his on-screen wife – Demelza – out of a boat, when a freak wave crashed into the boat and sent it crashing into his head.
Turner subsequently dropped Demelza, played by Eleanor Tomlinson, into the sea.
The actor did not suffer any lasting damage; however an underwater cameraman capturing the action was also struck by the boat and is reported to have suffered a concussion.
Turner’s admission came in the same tragic month that saw multiple fatalities around the British coast, as strong waves and currents posed a significant risk to beach goers.
While all involved in this incident did not suffer any long-lasting injuries, other accidents during filming have had more devastating consequences.
During filming for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford suffered a broken leg after being struck by a metal door.
Both of these productions would have been marshalled by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Under the latter piece of legislation, employers are required to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to assess any risks to their employees while they perform their routine activities.
These risk assessments should be adapted to the working environment, as Melanie Burden – Head of General Personal Injury – explains:
“When planning filming, production companies should perform a risk assessment on the setting, ensuring that any potential risk of injury is considered.”
“In the example of Poldark, the sea was involved in a shot and it is likely that Mammoth Screen – the production company behind the show – would have checked the weather and shipping forecasts, however the unpredictability of the sea resulted in a freak accident.”
“Despite this, Mammoth Screen should have appreciated the dangers of working directly in the sea and a so-called ‘freak’ wave that caused the crew member’s injury should have been deemed a foreseeable accident in the circumstances.”
“All involved were fortunate that they did not suffer more serious injuries, as a blow to the head can cause brain damage and significantly change somebody’s life.”
“This links directly to the recent case involving Harrison Ford and the producers of The Force Awakens, as the Health Safety Executive bought prosecution against the company and established that a failure to protect actors and crew from due harm could result in criminal prosecution and civil compensation claims.”
“The threat of injury to crew and actors during filming of TV and Film productions is not one that is taken lightly by production companies.”
Written by Mel Burden
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