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Campaign promotes aerial lift safety

Sarah Mervosh | Monday, August 29, 2011

Notre Dame launched a campaign Friday to raise awareness regarding aerial lift safety as part of an effort to prevent accidents like the one that in which Declan Sullivan died last fall.

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

The UpRight! campaign, developed in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Labor (DOL), will provide safety information for those who work with aerial lifts at universities, colleges and high schools around the country.

The campaign originated after Notre Dame reached a settlement with the DOL in July. Developing a nationwide education program about scissor lift safety was one component of the settlement.

With the launch of the UpRight! campaign, Notre Dame has completed all of the settlement’s requirements, said Chetrice Mosley, DOL public information officer.

University Spokesman Dennis Brown said Notre Dame launched the campaign not only because it was part of the agreement with the DOL, but also because it was right.

“We did it because we felt that it was the right thing to do,” Brown said. “We said right from the start that we’d do something like this.”

University President Fr. John Jenkins also said the campaign helps fulfill a promise the University made after Sullivan’s death to work to prevent similar accidents.

“While we cannot bring Declan back, we have said since last fall that we are committed to working with the Sullivan family and IOSHA (Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to share the lessons we have learned to help reduce the possibility of an accident like this ever happening again,” Jenkins said. “The materials and information provided on the website are a part of our effort in that regard.”

Sullivan’s father, Barry Sullivan, said he supports the University’s effort.

“We believe this is a positive step in preventing aerial lift accidents in the future,” he said. “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.”

The campaign’s website, liftupright.org, provides information on proper setup and training for aerial lifts, as well as general instructions for how to deal with weather and for designating a safety contact person.

The website also offers downloadable fact-sheets and posters, including one that shows the organization’s wind limit, the press release stated.

Brown said the website is directed at the individuals who work with aerial lifts at educational institutions around the country. He said the University will work with supporting organizations, such as the National Federation of State High School Associations and the Collegiate Sports Video Association, to spread awareness.

“Then they will use their communication tools to push that information out to their members,” he said.

For example, Brown said some organizations will include information from the campaign in their monthly newsletter or magazine.

“It’s a push down the chain sort of approach,” he said.

In addition to the nationwide aerial lift safety campaign, the settlement with the DOL required Notre Dame to provide IOSHA with a list of locations where scissor lifts are used on campus and to complete refresher training for those who operate the equipment. It also stipulated Notre Dame would appoint a liaison between the athletic department and the risk-management deartment to ensure adequate safety training is provided to employees.

Notre Dame also agreed to make a substantial contribution to the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund.

Brown said Notre Dame has completed all of these steps.


“We have completed all of the requirements of the resolution agreement with IOSHA,” he said.