A production company for a Hollywood blockbuster has been fined for the death of a stuntperson during filming in Vancouver in 2017.
WorkSafeBC announced on May 7 that TCF Vancouver Productions has been fined almost $300,000 for the death of a stunt performer during the filming of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver in August 2017.
During the filming of the Deadpool sequel from June to October in 2017, stunt rider Joi “SJ” Harris was performing as a stunt double for cast member Zazie Beetz on the morning of August 14 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Although she was an experienced motorcycle rider, she was appearing as a stunt performer in a film.
The stunt required her to drive a motorcycle through the open doors of a building and down a ramp that was built over three stairs, before stopping on a landing.
However, she went beyond the stopping point, down a second ramp, and continued across the roadway until she hit a sidewalk curb, whereupon she was thrown off the motorcycle, through the branches of a tree, and crashed through a building window.
The incident was captured on video.
According to the investigation report, as the performer went down the first ramp, the front wheel became airborne. After the front wheel landed, the rear wheel became airborne but “when the rear wheel landed, the motorcycle immediately accelerated, resulting in a loss of control on the part of the Operator”.
According to the B.C. Coroners Service, the 40-year-old Harris died at the scene.
The investigation conducted by WorkSafeBC into the incident, detailed in an initial report released in August 2017 and followed up with a final report in October 2019, found a number of workplace violations, including instructing the performer not to wear the headgear while using the motorcycle.
Other violations included lack of adequate supervision of the stunt, a lack of new worker orientation, and a failure to identify, assess, and control the hazards of the activity, such as the safety controls, motorcycle speed, and equipment limitations.
In addition, no barriers were put in place to prevent the performer from going beyond the film set and required stunt safety inspection and production-activity notification checklists weren't completed.
According to the redacted WorkSafeBC report, the main unit stunt coordinator was not on set at the time of the incident but the second unit stunt coordinator, who was the direct supervisor of the performer, was on set and witnessed the crash.
WorkSafeBC explained that the amount of the penalty is based on the employer’s payroll size, the nature of the violation, and the employer’s history of violations.
TCF Vancouver Productions, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox, has been penalized with a $289,562.63 fine.