Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)

Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

A teen BMX star who died in a fish farm accident near Port Hardy in 2019 was inadequately trained, WorkSafe BC concluded in its report on the incident.

Aidan Webber was 18 years old and had been working for Sea Roamer Marine Services for nine months when he died in an accident on March 10, 2019.

WorkSafe BC investigated and found that Sea Roamer’s safety training and supervision was lacking. It also pointed to inappropriate tie-up points at the Mowi-owned pen at Robertson Island where the incident occurred.

Webber was deckhand on a barge being docked at the fish farm. While the tugboat master was maneuvering the boat into place, Webber jumped from the barge to the walkway of the pen to tie a mooring line. The walkway did not have docking cleats, but required a line to be fed through a small hole at the base of a stanchion (like a fence post) holding the underwater net in place. This often required the deckhand to have their back turned to the barge while securing, the investigator found.

While Webber was bent over tying the line, the barge, still with forward momentum, slid onto the walkway crushing Webber into the stanchion. He died of his injuries before reaching Port Hardy despite attempts to provide first aid.

The firm’s representative told WorkSafe they did not have written procedures for deckhands for mooring or docking vessels. As well, there were no formal orientation procedures or records, and that all training was done informally during work operations, the report stated.

Workers under 25 years old are also specifically required to receive extra safety orientation and training, which the investigation found was not followed.

RELATED: Teenager dies in workplace accident off the coast of Port Hardy

Webber’s mother Nicole is frustrated that with such clear violations, there wasn’t even a fine.

She manages a long-term health care facility, and knows how tightly safety regulations are enforced. There seems to be different safety requirements for marine industries, she noted.

“In health care if you don’t fix an issue in your workplace that impacts workers, WCB is so quick to fine the health authority. I have no idea why this company doesn’t have the same kind of consequence.”

Adding to the difficulty of a tragic situation, Webber’s father Jim works at Sea Roamer too. He was part of the crew that trained Webber. Nicole does not blame Jim for the poor training; she blames the company and the industry.

“The company didn’t have the policy and procedure in place for my husband to train my son properly and safely,” she said.

“After he was killed, my husband repeatedly said Aidan did what he was trained to do. Aidan was trained to work quickly and efficiently.”

Nicole Webber wants to see a fulsome safety orientation be developed for marine workers.

“Aidan was more than a fallen worker, more than a BMX prodigy. He was the most amazing, loving, bright light of a human being. He was joyous. He really represents the best in humanity. I’m just so sorry for Aidan that his life was cut short … because of an industry’s oversight, really,” Nicole Webber said.

Sea Roamer has not yet responded to requests for an interview, nor has Mowi.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


AccidentsDeath

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs is currently undergoing a housing needs assessment, to see where the community is lacking and what its specific needs are. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer) [Harrison Hot Springs 2019]
REAL ESTATE: Finding the right property in a low inventory market

Real estate columnist Freddy Marks shares how buyers can make the most of a low inventory market

Sasquatch Mountain Resort. (Paul Henderson/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Let’s keep funds from hotel tax in the Hemlock Valley

Accommodation providers Kevin Sass and Wendy Cherry share their thoughts on a possible MRDT

The slide on the east side of Harrison Lake came down on Wednesday, Jan. 13. 2021 off Mt. Breakenridge. (Screenshot/Tery Kozma video)
Harrison Lake landslide prompts investigation, discussion after brief tsunami concern

The January slide saw a small amount of soil come off the side of Mt. Breakenridge

Stock image
EDITORIAL: Graduation is too important to let students fail

We need to do more to ensure every student graduates high school, editor Grace Kennedy writes

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged with criminal negligence in Coquihalla crash is accused of ignoring smoking brakes

Just before crashing the smoking truck was seen entering Zopkios brake check and leaving shortly after

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Shoppers will be able to get their hands on signed bottles of Ryan Reynolds’ new gin at B.C. liquor stores this summer. (Twitter/Ryan Reynolds)
Limited bottles of Ryan Reynold’s new Aviation Gin autographed and coming to B.C. stores

This summer 100 units will be available to the public for purchase at five B.C. liquor stores

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Most Read