Notre Dame fined by state agency for death of student worker

No one has paid with their job yet for the death of Declan Sullivan, but the University of Notre Dame has now been fined by the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

Stacy St. Clair of the Chicago Tribune reports that the school has been fined $77,500 for “ignoring industry standards that could have prevented the death” of Sullivan, who was video taping football practice at the school during extremely high winds and fell from a lift to his death on Oct. 27.

The state agency probed the death of Sullivan for five months and deemed it a “preventable workplace fatality.” According to the report, the school was found guilty of six violations, the most serious for “for "knowingly exposing its employees to unsafe conditions by directing its untrained student videographers to use the scissor lift during a period of time when the National Weather Service issued an active wind advisory with sustained winds and guests in excess of the manufactured specifications and warnings." That accounted for $55,000, the bulk of the total fine.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of more than 50 mph at the time of the accident. But Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said afterward weather conditions were “unremarkable.” It remains to be seen if Sullivan’s family plans to sue the university as well as school officials.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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