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Workplace safety rules part of Irish investigation

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — State regulators are investigating whether Notre Dame violated safety rules when it allowed a student to videotape football practice from a tall hydraulic lift that toppled in high winds, killing the young man.

Authorities also planned to review whether Declan Sullivan, 20, received training before using the Scissor Lift and whether a federal rule barring workers from using scaffolds during bad weather would have applied to his job, Marc Lotter, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said Friday.

Sullivan, a junior film student, died Wednesday after the lift fell over in wind gusts that rose as high as 51 mph. The machines typically extend to 40 or 50 feet, but it's unclear how high Sullivan was at the time.

An attorney who represents relatives of people killed in accidents involving aerial platforms said the scaffold rule does not apply to a Scissor Lift, though industry groups have drafted rules limiting use of the lifts in windy conditions.

Still, attorney David L. Kwass said the Notre Dame accident clearly violated those industry standards and other rules of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"If there were indeed gusts up to 50 mph, which is what was reported, then it was completely inappropriate to put an operator at height in a Scissor Lift. That should never, never, never have occurred," said Kwass, chairman of the American Association for Justice's crane and aerial lift litigation group.

He said OSHA rules requiring employers to ensure a safe workplace and safe working conditions "would absolutely apply" in Sullivan's death.

A 2007 Notre Dame policy posted on a departmental website says lift operators must consider weather before using the machines, but university spokesman Dennis Brown would not say whether the document reflected current policy.

Coach Brian Kelly released a statement Wednesday night after Sullivan died but has not commented on the incident since. The only reaction from players came via several Twitter posts.

On Thursday night, the players and coaching staff joined a packed congregation at a 1,000-seat campus basilica for a Mass for Sullivan. Hundreds more stood outside and listened to the service through a speaker system.

The Irish will wear decals on their gold helmets to honor Sullivan and is dedicating today's home game against Tulsa to his memory. The usual Friday night pep rally for the football team was canceled.

Boise State books Mich. State for three

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State and Michigan State will play a three-game series starting with the 2012 opener for both teams.

Officials from both schools announced the series that starts Aug. 31, 2012, in East Lansing, Mich., and will be broadcast by ESPN. It also includes a game in Boise in 2022 and another East Lansing matchup in 2023.

Adding a Big Ten team is a major step for a Boise State program looking to toughen its nonconference schedule.

UConn 16, W. VA. 13 (OT): Dave Teggart's 27-yard field goal in overtime gave the host Huskies their first win over the Mountaineers.

The winning score was set up when Connecticut linebacker Lawrence Wilson recovered the seventh fumble of the game by West Virginia (5-3, 1-2 Big East), which lost its second consecutive conference game. Jordan Todman tied a career high with 33 carries, running for 113 yards and a touchdown that helped the Huskies (4-4, 1-2) come back from an early 10-0 deficit.

With the score tied at 13 with less than two minutes left in regulation, West Virginia opted to punt on fourth and 9 from the UConn 33 rather than attempt a field goal into the wind.

Michigan State: Defensive back Chris L. Rucker traveled with team to Iowa for today's game against the 18th-ranked Hawkeyes. The school hasn't announced whether he will play. Rucker was reinstated Thursday after missing two games and serving eight days in jail for a probation violation following what was initially a drunken driving charge. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving.

Penn State: Walk-on quarterback Matt McGloin is expected to make his first career start today against Michigan as Rob Bolden continues to recover from a head injury.

B-CU rout runs late

DAYTONA BEACH — Isidore Jackson scored three touchdowns, and Matt Johnson and Jackie Wilson added two each as Bethune-Cookman beat North Carolina A&T 67-17 late Thursday in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game that was delayed during the first half by a lengthy power failure.

The Aggies (1-8, 1-5) have lost seven straight to B-CU (8-0, 5-0), ranked 12th in Division I-AA.

Johnson scored his first TD from 28 yards out, and Jackson followed with scoring runs of 5 and 2 yards before the blackout hit during a lightning storm that moved through the area. Power was restored after a delay of 1 hour, 42 minutes.

The Wildcats had 621 yards of total offense, surpassing 600 for the third time this season.

Workplace safety rules part of Irish investigation 10/29/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 30, 2010 1:17am]

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