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.

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4 thoughts on “Hydraulic Lifts

  1. These are sobering thoughts,Deb. It seems like it is human nature to not get too excited or even interested in something until there is a tragedy surrounding it. I hope Declan’s parents can feel some bit of consolation in this recent change at ND.

    • I do, too, Kathy. I just don’t know how a parent EVER gets over the death of a child — it’s just not the natural order of things for a young person to pass before his/her elders; maybe that’s why we see it as so tragic.

  2. Then for Brian Kelly to come out and say he is responsible for what happened showed the lack of respect that many of these coaches have for the young people they are responsible for.

    • You make a good point. However, even the president of the University came out and accepted responsibility for this incident. I don’t know whether Declan made this decision himself or who he reported to — whether it was a film department internship, or a part-time job for the athletic department, or what — so I’m refusing to point blame. Be that as it may, somebody’s decision showed an egregious lack of judgment.

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