A stunt performer who died in a downtown Vancouver motorcycle crash while filming a scene for Deadpool 2 wasn’t wearing a helmet for the stunt, one of several safety violations the production studio committed, according to the B.C. agency that oversees worker safety.
WorkSafeBC says Deadpool 2 producers also failed to properly train and plan the August, 2017, stunt performed by Joi Harris, a well-regarded U.S. competitive motorcyclist performing her first-ever stunt.
The agency said in its report released Wednesday a helmet was required by the manufacturer of the motorcycle and B.C. regulations, but TCF Vancouver Productions Ltd. failed to ensure Ms. Harris was wearing one.
In total, WorkSafeBC is accusing TCF – a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. – of five violations of the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
The report says TCF failed to ensure Ms. Harris was wearing safety headgear required by occupational regulations and the motorcycle manufacturer. The specific violation in this last item reads, “Instructing the stunt performer not to wear safety headgear while operating the motorcycle.”
WorkSafeBC spokesperson Craig Fitzsimmons said the agency is now considering “administrative penalties” – that is fines – against TCF, a Vancouver-based company Fox uses to produce feature films in B.C.
Fox responded to the report in a statement issued by spokesperson Meredith Lipsky.
“Safety is our top priority, and while we respectfully disagree with some of the report’s findings, Fox thoroughly reviewed its stunt safety protocols immediately following the tragic accident and has revised and implemented enhanced safety procedures and enforcement,” the statement said.
She did not respond to a Globe and Mail query on what specific disagreements Fox had with the WorkSafeBC report.
Ms. Harris, 40, died on Aug. 14, 2017, when she was ejected from a Ducati Hyperstrada 939 motorcycle and crashed into a building while riding in an area cordoned off by police.
Ms. Harris 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.
Between 2014 and 2018, there were three fatalities in British Columbia’s booming motion picture, commercial and television production sector, all involving motor vehicles, including the Deadpool 2 accident, says WorkSafeBC.
According to the agency, the injury rate in B.C’s motion picture, commercial and TV production industry is slightly higher than the provincial workplace average.
The sector has a rate of 2.5 claims per 100 workers in 2018 compared to a 2.19 provincial rate across all industries.
Among the TCF violations cited in the WorkSafeBC report is a failure by the company to conduct a risk assessment on the motorcyle’s safety controls, speed and limitations.
“The employer failed to complete important health and safety documentation, including a stunt safety inspection checklist and a production activity notification checklist as required by its own health and safety program,” the report said.
WorkSafeBC investigators also found a failure to provide orientation for Ms. Harris or to provide “adequate supervision” regarding the work activity.
They also said there were no safety controls such as barriers that would have ensured the motorcycle could not proceed beyond the film set’s boundaries.
Ms. Harris considered herself the first African-American woman to become a professional road racer, beginning her career in 2014.
The 2017 incident happened during production of the second feature film about the Marvel comics character, Deadpool.
The sequel, an eventual critical and commercial hit, starred Vancouver-born Ryan Reynolds, who also co-wrote and co-produced the film. The director was David Leitch, a former stuntman and stunt co-ordinator who produced the first John Wick movie.
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