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Publish date: Aug 29, 2011

Notre Dame launches educational campaign for aerial lift operation

The University of Notre Dame has begun a new awareness campaign aimed at improving aerial lift safety not only for the South Bend campus but for other colleges and universities nationwide.

The new campaign (called “UpRight!”) was developed in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Labor and serves as a resource for administrators, videographers, band directors and others who oversee the use of aerial lifts for shooting video and directing.

A website,, offers a video introduction to aerial lift safety considerations, as well as video segments on setting up lifts correctly, proper training, evaluating weather conditions and employing the right safety contacts.

Notre Dame officials worked closely with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration, risk management personnel and aerial lift operation experts to develop protocols.

“The materials and information provided on the website are a part of our effort in that regard, and while not a substitute for formal training, they’re a start for helping others understand key considerations for aerial lift safety,” said Notre Dame President John I. Jenkins.

The effort comes after a tragic accident last October claimed the life of Notre Dame student videographer Declan Sullivan. In the months following the accident, the university found that many institutions have no specific protocols in place for the use of lifts. School officials said that demonstrated “a clear need for a national awareness campaign for universities, colleges and high schools and the people who operate aerial lifts on campuses across the country.”

“While we cannot bring Declan back, we have said since last fall that we are committed to working with the Sullivan family and IOSHA to share the lessons we have learned to help reduce the possibility of an accident like this ever happening again,” Jenkins said.

Visitors to the website may download and print fact sheets and fliers, including one that displays an organization’s adopted wind limit, to post in areas where aerial lifts will be used. In addition, information on where to purchase an anemometer or wind gauge, which allows for real-time weather information, is provided.

“We appreciate Notre Dame’s efforts and timeliness to heighten awareness of important aerial lift safety considerations,” said the Indiana Department of Labor’s Deputy Commissioner Jeff Carter. “Nearly 30 people lose their lives to aerial lift accidents each year in the United States, so any additional resource that improves operational safety is significant.”