Stuntwoman Joi "SJ" Harris died on the set of Deadpool 2 while attempting a simple motorcycle stunt in 2017. Canadian safety organization WorkSafeBC has found that the producers on the sequel violated numerous safety regulations, which contributed to Harris' death. WorkSafeBC is British Columbia's version of the U.S. government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Production on Deadpool 2 halted as the cast and crew paid tribute to Harris, while WorkSafeBC started up their investigation into safety concerns.
Joi "SJ" Harris was performing her first-ever movie stunt for Deadpool 2 and had successfully completed it five times. The sixth time was the first one that was shot, and unfortunately, Harris was ejected from the motorcycle and crashed through the window of a nearby building. According to WorkSafeBC, producers instructed "the stunt performer not to wear safety headgear while operating the motorcycle." The investigation also found that producers "Failed to ensure that the workplace was designed with safety controls" to keep Harris' motorcycle from going "beyond the perimeter of the film set." Additionally, "Barriers were absent that should have prevented the stunt performer and motorcycle from leaving the set perimeter."
In the aftermath of the incident, Deadpool 2 crewmembers spoke about warning producers of safety concerns. According to the stunt coordinator who worked with Joi "SJ" Harris, "I cringed every time she went out. Like, when is she going to crash?" While Harris was a professional motorcyclist, she was not very experienced in Hollywood stunt work. It is believed that producers tried to push the issue to get the stunt complete. You can read more of the WorkSafeBC's findings below.
"(Producers) failed to conduct a risk assessment addressing safety controls, speed of the motorcycle, and equipment 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... (producers) failed to ensure that the stunt performer was provided with a new worker orientation and failed to ensure that the stunt performer completed the young and new worker orientation checklist."
WorkSafeBC said its findings "may result in an administrative penalty where violations" have occurred." Plus, WorkSafeBC is now "considering a penalty based on the findings" of its investigation. 20th Century Fox already settled out of court with Joi "SJ" Harris' family back in April of this year. For now, it looks like the producers of Deadpool 2 will end up with some further monetary fines, which could impact shooting in Canada.
As it turns out, the stunt coordinator who was training Joi Harris quit working on Deadpool 2 after the accident, telling producers that she didn't want anything to do with the sequel any longer. Unfortunately, this seems like it could have all been easily avoidable had the producers taken the time to do so. Deadline was the first to report on WorkSafeBC's investigation findings.