Notre Dame launches aerial lift safety website

By Lindsey Anderson30 August 2011

The University of Notre Dame has launched a website focusing on aerial lift safety. The site is a part of its settlement with the state of Indiana over safety violations after Declan Sullivan, a student videographer, was killed when the scissor lift he was filming football practice from toppled over in high winds. is a resource for universities, colleges and high schools, according to the website. "Does your institution use aerial lifts to tape or photograph sporting events or band competitions? If so, this website is for you," it states.

The site emphasizes the need for proper setup of equipment, training for those who use it, awareness of weather conditions and someone taking charge of safety procedures.

"As part of our investigation, we found that a lot of schools did not have specific protocols in place for aerial lifts so our hope is that some of the things we learned from our investigation will help others in higher education and also in high schools know some of the safety measures that need to be in place," university spokesman Dennis Brown said in a statement.

The university agreed in June to pay a $42,000 fine for safety violations in the Oct. 27 death of 20-year-old Sullivan of Long Grove, IL.

Notre Dame was originally fined $77,500 but reached a settlement in June reducing the charge from a knowing violation to a serious violation. University officials have acknowledged that their safety procedures weren't adequate.

Notre Dame also announced that it will no longer use aerial lifts for videographers at practices, instead opting to use remote-controlled cameras, according to reports.

Brown said Notre Dame is working with the National Federation of State High School Associations, Collegiate Sports Video Association and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to spread the word about the website. Brown said the campaign and the website is a place to start, but it's not a substitute for formal training.

The safety campaign website launch fulfills Notre Dame's settlement agreement with the state, according to sources. For more on this story, see the November/December 2011 isssue of Access, Lift & Handlers.

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