10 Times that Star Wars Breached the OHSA

The legendary series that spans generations, and even spawned its own day on the calendar, is embedded in the folklore of a galaxy far, far away. But when fiction crosses over into reality, the consequences can be all too real. A 2014 incident saw Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, break his leg on the set of The Force Awakens, resulting in charges being filed under UK health and safety legislation.

So let’s take a (satirical) look at the series.

May the fourth be with you!

1. There are no guards on lightsabers

The most dangerous (yet civilized!) weapon in the galaxy completely exposes hands (uh, Luke?), and other appendages to accidental harm. This failure to adequately guard users from harm contravenes Ontario Regulation 851, and is unfortunately one of the most cited contraventions in Ontario, according to the province’s latest inspection blitz.


2. Walkways without handrails are a common feature

What if someone fell off?! Falls – even from low heights – can lead to serious injuries that are often overlooked, and yet such incidents result in the most serious injuries at uOttawa.


3. Who gave the planning department the go-ahead for the Death Star?

It’s a weapon of mass destruction! We also noticed a few failings in its construction. Multiple contractors would be needed. There would need to be quite a plan to ensure separation of work zones, or one heck of a director’s designation from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development!

4. The Death Star was destroyed while workers were still working on it

Those workers had families! They were put at unnecessary risk and that’s a problem in any galaxy, despite the intentions of those Rebel scum! Under a new proposal, penalties for this type of organizational contravention would result in fines of $2M per offence, the highest in the galaxy, err…Canada.

5. Literal violence in the workplace

Darth Vader uses the Force to choke Admiral Motti! That would be a direct violation of policies on workplace violence, including uOttawa Policy 66! At least he’s polite in explaining that he “finds [Motti’s] lack of faith disturbing!”

Dark Vador

6. How does the Force impact compliance?

It’s difficult to predict. No employer should use the Force to harm or threaten another worker. Ontario law clearly specifies that reprisals are prohibited, but we highly doubt Darth Vader cares about this one.

7. Lack of adequate lighting in hangars

It’s dark everywhere! Nobody can see what they’re doing. Maybe that’s why it’s called the “dark side”? Both the Imperial forces and the Rebel Alliance could take a page out of OHSA on lighting: where natural lighting is inadequate to ensure the safety of any worker, artificial lighting shall be provided and shadows and glare shall be reduced to a minimum.

8. Rebel Alliance members are not equipped with proper body armour and protective equipment

Stormtroopers have so much armour! Strong the Imperial’s hazard identification is! The Rebels are woefully underequipped to go up against (checks notes) blasters?!?! Someone might want to tell General Leia Organa about PPE!


9. AT-ATs are operating in terribly inclement weather

Freezing conditions are not ideal or safe for driving. Visibility can be low, there’s the risk of machinery freezing, and slips, trips and falls are more likely to occur. And slips, trips, and falls are the most frequently reported incident on Hoth…er uOttawa, accounting for about 30% of incidents.


10. No seatbelts in vehicles

Seriously. Check it out. This is a no-brainer and required under highway traffic legislation – including for workers driving vehicles as part of uOttawa business.

Ok, satirical review over. While this was fun to think about, every potential hazard mentioned in this article should be taken seriously. And as illustrated by the injury to Harrison Ford, workplace accidents can happen anywhere – even to Han Solo.

If you’re researching how to make a lightsabre, teaching young padawans the way of the Force, or otherwise responsible for a cantina in Mos Eisley (or, say, a University campus), you have a legal and moral duty to ensure that your team complies with health and safety policies and legislation. Fortunately, Procedure 14-1 sets out the responsibilities of all workplace parties.

Safety isn’t like C3PO: you can’t simply shut down when the going gets tough. We rely on your en-Force-ment of health and safety standards 24/7 – your fellow Jedis are counting on you!

Satirical movie review
Satirical movie review

What we learned about safety watching Home Alone

A holiday classic (directed by the late John Hughes), Home Alone also contains some helpful lessons on safety. The Occupational Health and Safety Team wishes you happy holidays with another satirical movie review. Warning: Possible spoilers ahead!