I know absolutely nothing about Declan Sullivan, a Notre Dame student who recently was killed when operating a hydraulic scissorlift at 50 feet in gusty, windy weather. He might have been a wonderful young man; he might not have been, but it doesn't matter. No matter what his personality was, he doesn't deserve to be dead right now.
I know nothing about him and if proper safety procedures had been followed, I'd never have heard of him and it would be far better that way. Obviously, Sullivan had no training in proper procedures on aerial work platforms and whoever brought him the scissorlift to use obviously either had no training or didn't bother to train this young student, or did nothing to stop him from using it in windy weather.
So the Notre Dame football team observes a minute of silence and wears some patch on their helmets to honor the young man. Big deal. It doesn't appear to me that those in charge at Notre Dame learned anything from this incident. I haven't kept up with developments, so for all I know maybe I'd be pleasantly surprised to learn that authorities there are taking measures to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
However, I fear that authorities there are likely to be as ignorant as an NCAA official Guy Ramsey, CEO of Maximum Capacity Media, spoke to in the aftermath of the accident. Ramsey spoke to an NCAA official and told him about the aerial safety conference Maximum Capacity is holding online next week. After inviting him and others at the NCAA to participate – it's an hour a day for four days and free of charge – the official responded with something to the effect of “why would we want to participate in something like that?”
Kind of hard to know how to begin to answer such an ignorant statement, isn't it? Where does one begin? How many students will have to die before somebody representing an educational institution will say, “We need to get educated regarding safe operation of machines that put people 50 feet up in the air?”
I don't know if anybody from Notre Dame or the NCAA will ever read this blog but it won't take up much of your time to get educated about aerial safety. And to anybody else reading this who hasn't been trained, or anybody who might need to be reminded about aerial safety, a good place to start will be MCM's SAF-T conference starting Monday.
Haulotte Group, Snorkel, Skyjack and IPAF are sponsoring the event, and you can get more information regarding the schedule and the agenda at http://saf-tconference.com. Why would you want to participate in something like that? Because while it's too late to bring back Declan Sullivan, those four hours might save the life of somebody else in the future.