Archive of Indiana OSHA investigation
By Stacy St. Clair and Todd Lighty, Tribune reporters
At the conclusion of its nearly five-month review, the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration released roughly 500 records it relied on when investigating Declan Sullivan's death at the University of Notre Dame. It was a remarkable act of transparency by the agency, which has imposed a $77,500 fine on the university -- the largest levied against an school in the state in at least five years.
Sullivan, a 20-year-old videographer from north suburban Long Grove died on Oct. 27 after the lift he was recording from was blown over by strong winds during football practice. He had voiced his objections about filming outside to a staffer shortly before going onto the practice field, records show.
The released records are critical because they paint the clearest picture yet of the events and decisions leading up to the fatal accident. Indeed, Sullivan's family says they hope other college athletic programs will look at OSHA's "thorough investigation" and make the necessary adjustments to their safety protocols.
Notre Dame announced last week that it has banned the use of hydraulic lifts to film practices and has begun construction of a remote-controlled camera system. Indiana OSHA also intends to launch an education initiative promoting the safe use of lifts at schools and universities across the state.
"We're grateful the investigation was thorough and that other people will learn from this tragedy," Declan's uncle Mike Miley said. "We can't change the past; all we can do is help others avoid similar tragedies."