Notre Dame Fined $77,500 For Student Death

The fine is based on five violations leading to a Long Grove, Ill., student's fall from a hydraulic lift

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    NEWSLETTERS

    WNDU
    A portion of the scissor lift the student was on is visible in this image grabbed from video.

    The University of Notre Dame has been fined $77,500 for the death of a student videographer who fell from a hydraulic scissor lift last year.

    The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration cites the school for five violations, including not maintaining safe working conditions and failing to properly train Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior film student, to operate the lift.

    Notre Dame Gathers to Remember Student Killed in Fall

    [CHI] Notre Dame Gathers to Remember Student Killed in Fall
    Several hundred students packed into the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the University of Notre Dame campus Thursday night in a Mass of Remembrance for Declan Sullivan. (Published Thursday, Oct 28, 2010)

    Sullivan was filming football practice from the lift when it toppled over in strong wind gusts. He died Oct. 27.

    A bulk of the school's fine -- $55,000 -- belongs to "knowingly exposing its employees to unsafe conditions by directing its untrained student videographers to use the scissor lift during a period of time when the National Weather Service issued an active wind advisory with sustained winds and guests in excess of the manufactured specifications and warnings."

    Notre Dame Athletic Director Describes Moments Leading Up to Crash

    [CHI] Notre Dame Athletic Director Describes Moments Leading Up to Crash
    Athletic Direct Jack Swarbrick described the weather as "unremarkable" as he made the journey from his office to the practice field, until a strong gust came through. (Published Thursday, Oct 28, 2010)

    The National Weather Service said winds in the area that day were gusting to 51 mph time when the hydraulic lift toppled. IOSHA ruled the death a workplace fatality.

    After the accident, Notre Dame's president sent an e-mail to students, faculty, staff and alumni saying the school is responsible for Sullivan's death because it failed to protect him.

    "Declan Sullivan was entrusted to our care, and we failed to keep him safe," the Rev. John Jenkins wrote. "We at Notre Dame and ultimately I, as President are responsible. Words cannot express our sorrow to the Sullivan family and to all involved."