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Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:01 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 1:18 pm

ND's fine reduced in wake of Sullivan death

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In March, Notre Dame was fined $77,500 by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Association (IOSHA) for its role in the death of videographer Declan Sullivan in October. Notre Dame then contested IOSHA's ruling in April in hopes of finding a different solution to the problem, and on Friday there was a new agreement between the two parties. Part of which will see the fine reduced from $77,500 to $42,000.
In exchange for the smaller fine, the university is required to launch a national education campaign on the safe use of scissor lifts. The school will also make a donation to Sullivan’s memorial fund and designate a liaison between Notre Dame’s athletic department and the risk-management division to make sure all employees are properly trained.

The university will not disclose how much it will donate to the memorial fund, university spokesman Dennis Brown said.

“What remains ever-present throughout this process is the reality of the loss experienced by Declan Sullivan’s family and friends, all of whom remain in the thoughts and prayers of the Notre Dame community,” university spokesman Dennis Brown said in a statement. “Notre Dame is committed to doing all we can to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again and is working with IOSHA and others on a national education initiative on aerial-lift safety in regard to setup, training and weather-related risks.”
The Sullivan family also released a statement supporting Notre Dame and the decision.

Now, while some people may see this as nothing more than Notre Dame having to pay less money for its role in Declan Sullivan's death, I feel that this is the better option for all sides to take. I'd rather the school pay a smaller fine and take a more proactive role in ensuring that a tragedy like this never happens again -- not only at Notre Dame but at every school around the country.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 4:00 pm

IOSHA statement from Declan Sullivan's family

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As reported earlier, Indiana's OSHA office announced today that Notre Dame would be fined nearly $80,000 for a series of occupational misdeeds leading up to the accidental death of volunteer film assistant Declan Sullivan last year, including a $55,000 fine for knowingly sending Sullivan to the lift with a wind advisory active. Here's what Sullivan's parents had to say about the announcement, released in a statement today:

We appreciate the thorough investigation by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of our son, Declan. This report is an important step in preventing future accidents, but its findings do not change the fact that Declan is not with us.

Our family supports the efforts by the University of Notre Dame to halt the use of hydraulic lifts to film football practices and install remote-controlled cameras. We are confident that Notre Dame will address the additional issues raised in the IOSHA report. 

It is our sincere desire that universities, high schools and other institutions that use these lifts take to heart that accidents such as these are preventable and can be avoided if the designated safety measures are taken. 

We are grateful for the respect shown us over the past several months by everyone connected with Notre Dame. The University has maintained an open line of communication throughout this period and has provided timely answers to our questions.

Finally, our family remains thankful to the many individuals who have expressed their condolences in countless ways. We would like to express gratitude for the donations to the Declan Drumm Sullivan Memorial Fund and we continue to work with Notre Dame and others to find a fitting way to memorialize Declan's life.

We appreciate continued respect for our privacy as we focus on dealing with the loss of our son.

Alison and Barry Sullivan

The Sullivan family remains non-committal on whether they will sue Notre Dame over Declan's accident. The level of praise the family has for the school's response to the tragedy is certainly worth noticing, and it could very well be that they don't have it in them to pursue litigation at this point.

At the same time, six workplace safety violations contributing directly to Sullivan's death is far past unacceptable, and it's pretty surprising that nobody has lost their job over this tragedy yet. Yes, the report is only hours old, so the personnel situation could change at a moment's notice, but what kind of a message would it send to the Sullivan family and others who put their loved ones in Notre Dame's care that causing a death and racking up $77,500 in OSHA fines isn't a fireable offense?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or