A Vancouver company involved in producing the feature film Deadpool 2 has been fined $289,562.63 by WorkSafeBC over the death of a stunt performer in a motorcycle crash during work on a scene for the movie.
The B.C. workplace safety agency, which previously found various failings in the planning and execution of the stunt while the film was being shot in 2017, levied the administrative penalty against TCF Vancouver Productions Ltd. over the fatal incident.
“This is a significant penalty amount. These were high-risk violations and the penalty amount reflects that,” Craig Fitzsimmons said in an e-mail exchange on Thursday.
Mr. Fitzsimmons said the maximum penalty WorkSafeBC could impose would be just more than $674,000, but that would require repeated high-risk violations within a three-year period.
Joi Harris, an American competitive motorcyclist performing her first-ever stunt, died on Aug. 14, 2017, when she was ejected from a Ducati Hyperstrada 939 motorcycle and crashed into a building while riding in downtown Vancouver, in an area cordoned off by police.
Ms. Harris, 40, was supposed to ride through the open doors of a building, across a concrete pad and down a ramp built over three stairs. She was supposed to stop on the landing, but did not.
Through an investigation, WorkSafeBC previously found various violations by TCF Vancouver of the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, including instructions to Ms. Harris not to wear safety headgear while operating the motorcycle.
Also, the investigation cited a failure to provide adequate supervision, proper orientation for the performer, and a failure to identify the hazards and assess and control the risks of work activity.
Deadpool 2, which was shot in the Vancouver region, starred Ryan Reynolds, who also co-wrote and co-produced the 2018 movie, which earned about US$785-million at the global box office.
The film was directed by David Leitch, a former stuntman and stunt co-ordinator who produced the first John Wick movie and went on to direct Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
In a statement, WorkSafeBC said administrative penalties are designed to motivate employers to comply with occupational health and safety requirements, and to keep their workplaces safe.
Penalties, the agency said, are based on an employer’s payroll, the nature of the violation and an employer’s history of violations.
Mr. Fitzsimmons said TCF Vancouver Productions Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and is a Vancouver-based company that is used by Fox to produce feature films in B.C.
Fox has since been acquired by Disney.
Asked about the WorkSafeBC actions, a Fox spokesperson, Meredith Lipsky, issued a statement, on Thursday, that said the company accepts the workplace safety agency’s administrative assessment.
In addition, the statement added, “Since Disney’s acquisition of Fox, we have implemented our robust production safety standards and protocols across all film labels."
Ms. Lipsky did not elaborate.
WorkSafeBC has previously said the injury rate in B.C’s motion picture, commercial and TV production industry is slightly higher than the provincial workplace average, with a rate of 2.5 claims per 100 workers in 2018 compared with a 2.19 provincial rate across all industries.
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