Aerial Lift Safety

Promoting aerial lift safety awareness for universities, colleges, and high schools

The University of Notre Dame and several public and private agencies and organizations have created a program to help prevent accidents such as the one that took the life of Notre Dame student videographer Declan Sullivan do not happen again.

In the months following the accident in October 2010, the University found that many institutions had no specific protocols in place for the use of these lifts. This 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.

The UpRight! program, developed in collaboration with the Indiana Department of Labor, 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 four key areas for safety:

  • Right Setup
  • Right Training
  • Right Weather Information
  • Right Safety Contact

Visitors to the website may also 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.”

Declan Sullivan’s parents have been very supportive of the national awareness campaign. “We believe this is a positive step in preventing aerial lift accidents in the future,” said Barry Sullivan, Declan’s father. “Our hope is that schools that use these lifts will pay attention to the information presented on the website and make sure to institute a robust lift safety program.”

“While we cannot bring Declan back, 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,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “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.”

Notre Dame and other supporters of this effort ½ including the Indiana Department of Labor, the National Federation of State High School Associations, the Collegiate Sports Video Association, the University Risk Management and Insurance Association, the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association and the National Association of the Collegiate Directors of Athletics ½ have worked to spread the safety message to their members.

About UpRight!
UpRight! arose out of the University of Notre Dame’s public commitment to work with IOSHA, the family of Declan Sullivan and others on a national education campaign that addresses the importance of proper safety precautions and training related to aerial lifts when used for athletic practices and other events. Materials were developed in consultation with standards developed by the International Standards Organization, the American National Standards Institute, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and in consultation with risk management personnel and lift operation experts. Please access materials and other resources at

About the Indiana Department of Labor
The mission of the Indiana Department of Labor is to advance the safety, health and prosperity of Hoosiers in the workplace. In order to make significant strides, we emphasize both enforcement and compliance assistance.