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Notre Dame fined $77,500 for Sullivan accident


After a nearly five month investigation, the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration levied fines against Notre Dame for violations that occurred during the accident that killed student videographer Declan Sullivan.

“The employer did not establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and healthful for employees, and free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to potentially broken bones and/or death when untrained employees were instructed to use scissor lifts, at various elevations in windy conditions, to film football practice sessions,” the twelve-page report stated.

The investigation turned up six violations, with the most severe a $55,000 fine for a supervisor admitting to send untrained employees up onto the scissor lifts on October 27th, when the National Weather Service had a high wind warning in effect.

The Sullivan family released a statement in response to the report:

We appreciate the thorough investigation by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of our son, Declan. This report is an important step in preventing future accidents, but its findings do not change the fact that Declan is not with us.

Our family supports the efforts by the University of Notre Dame to halt the use of hydraulic lifts to film football practices and install remote-controlled cameras. We are confident that Notre Dame will address the additional issues raised in the IOSHA report.

It is our sincere desire that universities, high schools and other institutions that use these lifts take to heart that accidents such as these are preventable and can be avoided if the designated safety measures are taken.

We are grateful for the respect shown us over the past several months by everyone connected with Notre Dame. The University has maintained an open line of communication throughout this period and has provided timely answers to our questions.

Finally, our family remains thankful to the many individuals who have expressed their condolences in countless ways. We would like to express gratitude for the donations to the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund and we continue to work with Notre Dame and others to find a fitting way to memorialize Declan’s life.

We appreciate continued respect for our privacy as we focus on dealing with the loss of our son.

Alison and Barry Sullivan

Notre Dame announced last week that it has banned the use of hydraulic lifts and will implement a remote controlled camera system when spring practice begins.