'Deadpool 2' Stunt Death Caused by "Inadequate Workplace Setup," Report Finds

Deadpool 2 Still 10 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

Investigators WorkSafeBC report that the 2017 stunt person fatality was due to a "failure to conduct a risk assessment" and other safety violations.

Government investigators into the 2017 motorcycle stunt person death on the set of Deadpool 2 have concluded the fatality was due to inadequate planning and other safety violations by the filmmakers and not rider error, it was announced Wednesday.  

"TCF (TCF Vancouver Productions Ltd) failed to conduct a risk assessment addressing safety controls, speed of the motorcycle, and equipment limitations," WorkSafeBC, the Canadian equivalent of OSHA, wrote in its final report after investigating the workplace fatality.

"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 agency added.

During the filming of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver, stunt double Joi Harris died when she was ejected from the motorcycle she was operating and crashed into the window of a building, ultimately striking the window frame.

WorkSafeBC investigators added that the inadequate workplace setup and planning extended to TCF failing "to ensure that the workplace was designed with safety controls in place so that the stunt performer or the motorcycle could not proceed beyond the perimeter of the film set," including safety barriers.

The investigation report also cited a "lack of safety headgear," as required by occupational health and safety regulations, as another cause of the workplace death. "TCF failed to ensure the health and safety of the stunt performer by failing to provide adequate supervision with respect to this work activity."

A 20th Century Fox spokesperson, commenting on the WorkSafeBC report, told The Hollywood Reporter: "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."

WorkSafeBC investigators were on the incident site soon after the motorcycle fatality to inspect for immediate occupational health and safety issues and to make recommendations on cause and prevention under British Columbia's Workers' Compensation Act.

Eyewitnesses at the time told local reporters that the stunt person appeared to lose control of the bike and run into a nearby building through glass. As described in a 2017 THR report, unidentified crewmembers for the 20th Century Fox sequel said producers put pressure on 40-year-old Harris, who had raced professionally but had never worked on a film, to perform that day’s stunt to be a stand-in for Zazie Beetz, who portrayed Domino in the film.

The findings of the WorkSafeBC investigation may result in an administrative penalty due to violations of the Workers' Compensation Act or the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. The agency is now considering whether to impose a penalty based on its findings.