Hydraulic Lifts

Notre Dame announced this morning that no longer would it use extending hydraulic lifts to film football practices.

Instead, the university is installing four remote-controlled cameras mounted on 50-foot poles at its practice fields, in addition to two permanent structures already on the sidelines.

The move comes in the wake of the October 2010 death of Declan Sullivan, a junior student from the Chicago area who was killed when the scissor lift he was filming football practice from toppled over in 50-plus mph wind gusts.

Indiana OHSA continues to investigate Sullivan’s death, as does the University, which has signed on an independent consultant.

It’s believed that Notre Dame is the first university in the land to go with these camera devices; they’re expected to be operational by the start of Spring football practice.

While I’m so glad to see something positive come from this tragic incident, I have just one question:

Why, oh why, does it take a death before people realize that something’s inherently dangerous?

I mean, anybody could take one look at a hydraulic lift and see it’s not safe.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that 26 construction workers, many of them painters, die each year in aerial lift accidents. Of that number, one-fourth are from scissor lifts.

Not a huge number, unless it’s your loved one who’s killed.

And we’ve got kids operating these things?

Think about it.