The University of Notre Dame has created a website promoting safety considerations for colleges and high schools that use aerial lifts to shoot video of sports and band practices. The site, launched Friday in accordance with a settlement over the death of student videographer Declan Sullivan last fall, includes a video introduction to aerial lift safety and video segments covering setup, training, weather information and safety contact. Fact sheets and fliers (detailing an organization's established wind-limit policy, for example) are available for printing and posting wherever aerial lifts are used.
Sullivan's scissor lift was blown to the ground in 50-mile-per-hour winds at a Notre Dame football practice in October. The university banned hydraulic lift use on its campus in March, and other schools, including the University of Florida, have installed permanent observation towers at their practice facilities.
Sullivan's parents have expressed support for the UpRight! awareness campaign. "We believe this is a positive step in preventing aerial lift accidents in the future," said Barry Sullivan in a university media release. "Our hope is that schools that use these lifts will pay attention to the information presented on the website and make sure to institute a robust lift safety program."
According to the Indiana Department of Labor, which helped support Notre Dame's effort, nearly 30 people lose their lives each year in accidents involving aerial lifts, which are widely used in the construction industry. Other groups endorsing UpRight! include the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Association, the University Risk Management and Insurance Association, the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association, the National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
"While we cannot bring Declan back, we have said since last fall that we are committed to working with the Sullivan family and IOSHA to share the lessons we have learned to help reduce the possibility of an accident like this ever happening again," said Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president. "The materials and information provided on the website are a part of our effort in that regard, and while not a substitute for formal training, they're a start for helping others understand key considerations for aerial lift safety."