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Notre Dame to release report on student’s death

- Associated Press - Sunday, April 17, 2011

SOUTH BEND, IND. (AP) - The University of Notre Dame on Monday will release its six-month investigation into the death of a student killed when the hydraulic lift he was on fell over in high winds as he filmed football practice.

The Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration last month announced it would fine Notre Dame $77,500 for six safety violations tied to the death of Declan Sullivan, including knowingly putting its employees in an unsafe situation and failing to heed National Weather Service warnings on a day when wind speeds reached 53 mph. Notre Dame has told IOSHA it wants a formal hearing to discuss the state's findings.

Sullivan, a junior film student from Long Grove, Ill., died Oct. 27 after the lift he was on toppled. Less than an hour earlier, he had tweeted his concerns about what he described as "terrifying" weather.

Notre Dame announced shortly after Sullivan died that it would conduct its own investigation and Peter Likins, former president of the University of Arizona, would provide an independent review. Likins and the Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, are scheduled to attend Monday's news conference.

Jenkins has said the university failed to keep Sullivan safe and apologized, saying the school was "profoundly sorry."

Notre Dame announced last month it would no longer use hydraulic lifts for videographers at football practices because it was installing remote-controlled cameras.

The IOSHA report showed Sullivan had expressed displeasure about practice being held outside. IOSHA found the scissor lifts rented by the university were not supposed to be used in winds above 28 mph, but the weather service had issued a warning saying winds of 25 mph to 35 mph were expected with gusts of up to 45 mph.

The other violations cited by IOSHA included a failure to make annual, monthly or weekly inspections of the lifts for more than a year; a failure to have the scissor lift serviced as required by the manufacturer; and a failure to have an operator's manual on the unit. The lift was also missing some warning labels while others were faded and weathered.

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