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University confers with IOSHA

Megan Doyle | Friday, April 8, 2011

The University will continue talks with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) before addressing $77,500 in fines related to the state investigation of junior Declan Sullivan’s October death, IOSHA representative Stephanie McFarland said Thursday.

Sullivan died Oct. 27 after the scissor-lift from which he was filming football practice fell. He was a student videographer for the football team.

“At this point, Notre Dame is taking steps to ensure safety for its employees,” McFarland said. “The Notice of Consent is a state-required formality to continue their conversations with IOSHA.”

IOSHA published the results of its investigation March 15 and required the University to respond before April 7. Notre Dame filed a Notice of Contest to continue its conversations with IOSHA after the deadline passed Thursday, McFarland said.

University spokesman Dennis Brown said discussions between IOSHA and Notre Dame have been “positive and productive.”

“Though the University and IOSHA are near resolution, more time is needed to finalize the agreement,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, the timelines imposed by statute required filing the Notice of Contest in order to continue these discussions. As for the specifics of the discussions, we will keep them confidential until there is a final resolution.”

McFarland said Notre Dame is already taking the necessary steps to improve safety conditions for its employees. Scissor lifts were removed and replaced with a remote video system at the LaBar Practice Complex before the football team began spring practice March 23.

“These discussions can contribute to their conversations on a safer workplace,” McFarland said.

After receiving the results of IOSHA’s investigation, McFarland said the University faced three options. Notre Dame could pay the fines and correct the violations initially, meet with the Indiana Board of Safety Review or request an informal conference with IOSHA to discuss the findings of the report.

The University chose to discuss the report informally with IOSHA and began its conferences on April 1, she said.


“It is highly customary to meet informally with IOSHA to better understand the report,” McFarland said.

The citations resulted in fines totaling $77,500. The six violations include one “knowing” violation, meaning IOSHA found the University knowingly exposed its employees to unsafe conditions. IOSHA also issued five “serious” violations, including failure to properly train student employees in how to operate a scissor lift.

The University will respond to the fines within 45 business days of filing the Notice of Contest or attend a pre-hearing to discuss the charges with a state attorney.