The University of Notre Dame has been fined $77,500 for ignoring industry standards that could have prevented the death of a football team videographer who died last year after the hydraulic lift he was using toppled in strong winds, the Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration said Tuesday.
The fine marks the end of the agency's investigation into the death of student Declan Sullivan. The accident was classified as a preventable workplace fatality.
"Notre Dame did not establish and maintain conditions of work that were reasonably safe for its employees," the agency said in a statement.
Sullivan, a 20-year-old film and marketing student from Long Grove, Ill., was working as a paid employee of the school's athletic department on Oct. 27, when he went up in an aerial scissor lift to record the football team's practice.
The National Weather Service had issued a wind advisory for the day, and gusts reached 51 mph about the time of Sullivan's fall. The lift carrying Sullivan crashed through a fence and landed on a street.
The president of Notre Dame, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, said the university would study the report "very carefully and take the actions necessary to protect the ongoing safety of our students and staff."
He added: "None of these findings can do anything to replace the loss of a young man with boundless energy and creativity.… We failed to keep him safe, and for that we remain profoundly sorry."
After Sullivan's death, Notre Dame officials were criticized for failing to take responsibility for the incident and for appearing to put the team's interests before the student videographer's.
Athletic director Jack Swarbrick drew particular criticism for describing the weather conditions before the accident as "unremarkable," although Sullivan's Twitter feed indicated that he was terrified as gusts swirled around him during practice.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times