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

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Members of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club show off their new snowcat. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Nordic Club celebrates new snowcat

A community fundraising effort led to the purchase

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

An architectural design proposal from June, 2020, illustrates what a re-developed Hall Street Pier might look like. Illustration: City of Nelson
Nelson receives $1M grant for Hall St. Pier project

The design and extent of the project will be decided in the next few weeks

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

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

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read