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Thread: Some questions on this ND tragedy

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    But everyone is pointing fingers at Brian Kelly for this. He's got to be a part of it, but only a small part. He's not a tower expert. His job isn't to operate that thing and it wouldn't be negligent if he really didn't know the first thing about the kind of winds those things could withstand. Heck, I know a lot of football coaches at schools that use those things and they don't know the first thing about them.
    As was mentioned in another post, just 24 hours before the accident Jim Tressel recognized the concerned safety of his camera people and moved his practice indoors. It's ultimately Kelly's responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone in his program.....players, coaches, and various personnel.

    And claiming he's not a "tower expert" is just ridiculous. You don't need to be, it's just common sense. All you have to do is look at one of those things and realize that they may not be safe to use in a high wind environment. Nobody expects him to go out there everyday and measure the wind and determine that the scissors lift shouldn't be used because there are wind gusts of 26 mph or more. Just use some common sense and exercise caution.

    I don't think he should be fired, but he should be held accountable as it happened under his watch.

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  3. #47
    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    I hire high school age students to work on my farm. I realize that I am responsible for their safety. I would never ask a kid to make a decision that could endanger their lives. They don't have the experience to know better. Working with heavy equipment is a task that should have guidance from those with much more experience.

    The people who in the end shoulder the responsibility are the facilities coordinator, the head coach, the AD, the board of trustees, etc.

    At the end of the day a student is still dead. No amount of helmet stickers, moments of silence or memorial plaques change that. At no point short of a terrific on field injury, should a student die on a college campus.
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    As was mentioned in another post, just 24 hours before the accident Jim Tressel recognized the concerned safety of his camera people and moved his practice indoors. It's ultimately Kelly's responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone in his program.....players, coaches, and various personnel.

    And claiming he's not a "tower expert" is just ridiculous. You don't need to be, it's just common sense. All you have to do is look at one of those things and realize that they may not be safe to use in a high wind environment. Nobody expects him to go out there everyday and measure the wind and determine that the scissors lift shouldn't be used because there are wind gusts of 26 mph or more. Just use some common sense and exercise caution.

    I don't think he should be fired, but he should be held accountable as it happened under his watch.
    Jim Tressel doesn't represent every coach. He doesn't represent every opinion. He doesn't really have anything to do with Notre Dame. He was simply an example of someone that did think of something that was eerilie prophetic to this situation. It's good to know that he has the foresight to recognize those little things, but I don't think it's fair to say most coaches would have considered that just because Jim Tressel did.

    I don't really think there was 'common sense' about this situation before the incident. Everyone is acting like this was so easy, but yet it's something, Tressel excluded, probably most people wouldn't have thought about themselves before it happened. You're suggesting that it's common sense a football coach should have thought about a tower's ability to withstand winds. You think it's common sense what those things can withstand? We've found out after the fact they're built for 25 MPH. Did you know that? I most certainly didn't. I actually would have thought that it would be a bit higher, but I admit I wouldn't know the first thing about it. Even more, as a head football coach thinking about 100 players on the field, I'm not sure I would have ever thought about a tower holding up to winds outside the complex.

    It wasn't specifically Brian Kelly's job to know what the tower was built to withstand. It was the job of someone within Notre Dame's administration, but not necessarily Kelly. Personally, I'd much rather put that knowledge and that kind of liability on the people that actually operate the machine on a daily basis. I don't know if that's the equipment manager, the video coordinator, or whomever, but it's not the head football coach.

    Here's what I'm ultimately trying to say: we're using analogies to compare this incident to the roles of managers in workplace safety. And that's all well and good, but the problem here is that philosophically, it's a manager's job to know the risks and hazards of the industry and the workplace. Brian Kelly specifically deals with football players, and while there are other people involved in the program, the "common sense" of the situation is that one would be trained to deal with the occupational hazards of the industry that are between the hash marks and pylons, and not necessarily in a hydraulic lift on a practice field. As an institution, Notre Dame failed. But I am saying that everyone is pointing the finger at Brian Kelly specifically, and I think it's fair that 90% of head coaches wouldn't have been thinking about a video tower in that situation... that isn't typically something they're trained on or would have a lot of knowledge about.

    It's always easy to say something is common sense after it's happened. When we realize it's something that is a risk... a danger. But the common sense people didn't have to think think about it before it actually happened. We get the benefit of saying something is "common sense" after it's too late.

    To all the people that own businesses and running businesses that have to think about worker safety...and I've had to do it too (though admittedly in an industry that doesn't have a ton of industrial hazards, fortunately), I think it's fair to say there are probably always things that we don't think about that are hazards. And that's exactly why it's imperative that employees and workers bring them to our attention because we can't always be aware of all the risks.

    I feel like I have to belabor this point: I'm not saying Notre Dame isn't ultimately liable, responsible or at least partially to blame for this. But I think too many people are specifically pointing fingers at Brian Kelly specifically.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by LoganBuck View Post
    I hire high school age students to work on my farm. I realize that I am responsible for their safety. I would never ask a kid to make a decision that could endanger their lives. They don't have the experience to know better. Working with heavy equipment is a task that should have guidance from those with much more experience.

    The people who in the end shoulder the responsibility are the facilities coordinator, the head coach, the AD, the board of trustees, etc.

    At the end of the day a student is still dead. No amount of helmet stickers, moments of silence or memorial plaques change that. At no point short of a terrific on field injury, should a student die on a college campus.
    Yet, ironically, that kid probably had more experience operating that lift than any of the people you mention. You think Brian Kelly has operated that thing more than once or twice?

    This is a bit of a misnomer. Because in every industry, the managers or the people in charge are often less knowledgeable about heavy equipment than the people that operate them for a living. The truth is... the workers are skilled workers because they are the ones that are trained to operate the machinery. That's why they're paid to do it, because they have the know-how.

    Many managers don't have experience in the actual field... or at least not the specific portions of it. Nine times out of 10, a guy like Declan Sullivan probably have much more "experience" operating that tower than a head football coach would. It seems like the video coordinator, Sullivan and possibly an assistant coach or two would be the ones most likely to have experience with the lift.

    To your last point, "At no point short of a terrific on field injury, should a student die on a college campus."

    This is absolutely unrealistic. Accidents have, can and will always happen everywhere in life. We can think about safety until we're blue in the face, but there will be always something we don't think about, can't completely eliminate or are simply out of our control. To say someone should never die in the home, or at the workplace, or on a college campus... that's just not practical. We should take steps to eliminate the risks, but we'll never be able to always stop that from happening.

    And that's why there's always going to be someone to blame, I guess.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Treading very carefully here, is this perhaps what you are getting at Brutus...

    Of course, Notre Dame is ultimately responsible and is going to pay a stiff penalty for this one.

    But if that is your kid on the job, don't you want him to have the common sense and/or courage to say "no way" to going up in such conditions. And if he did something like that and survived he'd deserve a whack on the noggin from his old man.

    Don't take that as a shot at the kid who died...I swear it is not. (I don't know what went through this young man's mind nor due I know all the facts). This is a terrible tragedy.
    Last edited by kaldaniels; 10-31-2010 at 11:18 PM.

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    Treading very carefully here, is this perhaps what you are getting at Brutus...

    Of course, Notre Dame is ultimately responsible and is going to pay a still penalty for this one.

    But if that is your kid on the job, don't you want him to have the common sense and/or courage to say "no way" to going up in such conditions. And if he did something like that and survived he'd deserve a whack on the noggin from his old man.

    Don't take that as a shot at the kid who died...I swear it is not. (I don't know what went through this young man's mind nor due I know all the facts). This is a terrible tragedy.
    That's exactly what I think of it.

    Notre Dame is and will be held liable. I don't think there's any way around that. If in fact that lift was not supposed to withstand winds in excess of 25 MPH, legally, that will be a smoking gun. Ethically, it's certainly an important piece of information.

    All I'm saying is common sense extends, not just employers and managers, but to all workers. We all have the ability to process risk and weigh it against productivity. When we have alarms going off in our head about safety hazards, and if we choose to ignore bringing those risks to the attention of our supervisors, we're also at fault as a matter of principal. We also didn't use our common sense. And since that's a theme in this thread, it's applicable that the person that most had to think about it, and as we know, did; but unfortunately didn't raise the issue to give the supervisors a better perspective on the situation.

    Let's also look out for our own safety and not expect others to have to do it for us. We're all imperfect. So we can't take it for granted that the right choices will be made, even if not for a lack of trying.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    You think it's common sense what those things can withstand? We've found out after the fact they're built for 25 MPH. Did you know that? I most certainly didn't. I actually would have thought that it would be a bit higher, but I admit I wouldn't know the first thing about it. Even more, as a head football coach thinking about 100 players on the field, I'm not sure I would have ever thought about a tower holding up to winds outside the complex.
    Yes, I do think it's common sense to look at one of these typical scissor lifts and come to a determination that they would not be unsafe in high wind conditions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion by looking at one. You keep calling this thing a "tower." We aren't talking about the Eiffel Tower here........ but a scissor lift. Please do a google search and look at one of these things. You're too smart not to understand this. I know this by being an avid reader of the ORG.

    I don't care how many players he has on the field. He is still responsible for the safety of all players, coaches, and personnel.

    I can agree with you on your point to a certain degree. There is a certain level of self responsibility in every decision we make, but this is a young kid who is going to be heavily influenced by his professor, employer, or coach. He isn't going to take lightly going against the instruction of any of them.

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    Treading very carefully here, is this perhaps what you are getting at Brutus...

    Of course, Notre Dame is ultimately responsible and is going to pay a stiff penalty for this one.

    But if that is your kid on the job, don't you want him to have the common sense and/or courage to say "no way" to going up in such conditions. And if he did something like that and survived he'd deserve a whack on the noggin from his old man.

    Don't take that as a shot at the kid who died...I swear it is not. (I don't know what went through this young man's mind nor due I know all the facts). This is a terrible tragedy.
    Of course I would want him to be smart enough to refuse to get on the lift, but I wouldn't expect him to be. When I was a 20 year old college student, I did dumber things and only looking back now do I realize how lucky I was to survive unhurt.

    This whole workplace analogy doesn't work here. We send our children to school so that the school can teach them how to be adults, and to take care of them in the meantime. Schools have to expect kids to do dumb things, and to follow what their teachers and coaches tell them to do.

    Wouldn't blame a student who died or was hurt in a science lab explosion that the teacher should have known was too risky, or who was injured or died in a practice that the coach should have known was too demanding. The schools job is to protect students from harm, even from themselves.

    I don't know if Brian Kelly is responsible, and I don't really care. I do know, however, that the kid who died should not be blamed for his own death. It is always the schools responsibility to take care of and protect it's students.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Of course I would want him to be smart enough to refuse to get on the lift, but I wouldn't expect him to be. When I was a 20 year old college student, I did dumber things and only looking back now do I realize how lucky I was to survive unhurt.

    This whole workplace analogy doesn't work here. We send our children to school so that the school can teach them how to be adults, and to take care of them in the meantime. Schools have to expect kids to do dumb things, and to follow what their teachers and coaches tell them to do.

    Wouldn't blame a student who died or was hurt in a science lab explosion that the teacher should have known was too risky, or who was injured or died in a practice that the coach should have known was too demanding. The schools job is to protect students from harm, even from themselves.

    I don't know if Brian Kelly is responsible, and I don't really care. I do know, however, that the kid who died should not be blamed for his own death. It is always the schools responsibility to take care of and protect it's students.
    I don't think anyone here has blamed the kid for his death.

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Of course I would want him to be smart enough to refuse to get on the lift, but I wouldn't expect him to be. When I was a 20 year old college student, I did dumber things and only looking back now do I realize how lucky I was to survive unhurt.

    This whole workplace analogy doesn't work here. We send our children to school so that the school can teach them how to be adults, and to take care of them in the meantime. Schools have to expect kids to do dumb things, and to follow what their teachers and coaches tell them to do.

    Wouldn't blame a student who died or was hurt in a science lab explosion that the teacher should have known was too risky, or who was injured or died in a practice that the coach should have known was too demanding. The schools job is to protect students from harm, even from themselves.

    I don't know if Brian Kelly is responsible, and I don't really care. I do know, however, that the kid who died should not be blamed for his own death. It is always the schools responsibility to take care of and protect it's students.
    One minor point, at least for me...

    I don't expect him to "refuse" to get on the lift, but would hope he would raise the issue. There's a bit of a difference.

    Raising the issue, since he was concerned by it, would have perhaps brought an issue to the attention of the staff that they simply weren't aware of or weren't thinking about. It's likely no one told him to go up there because that was his routine. As such, it's very possible no one thought about it.

    Had he gone to the coaches and told them that he didn't think it was safe, perhaps they may not have had him go up there. It's one thing to just simply not think about it, it's another to send someone up knowing the dangers. For me, that's a distinction I think is important here. The coaches don't go up there, so they probably weren't thinking about the risks because it's not part of their routine. It is part of his, however, so if he'd brought it to their attention, I'm simply saying a much different decision may have been made.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Just wondering...

    So if tommorrow Ohio State offers me the head coaching job and I accept...suddenly I am responsible and legally liable for the safe working conditions of the video crew? I understand the fact that the minute I am hired I can pretty much boss anyone in the sports complex around...but legal liabilty for the support crew? I really don't know about that.

    I would just think this was more on the AD or the University as a whole (to have some sort of safety guidelines/procedures) than the head football coach.

    I don't know the hierarchy of athletic departments I will admit.

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    One minor point, at least for me...

    I don't expect him to "refuse" to get on the lift, but would hope he would raise the issue. There's a bit of a difference.

    Raising the issue, since he was concerned by it, would have perhaps brought an issue to the attention of the staff that they simply weren't aware of or weren't thinking about. It's likely no one told him to go up there because that was his routine. As such, it's very possible no one thought about it.

    Had he gone to the coaches and told them that he didn't think it was safe, perhaps they may not have had him go up there. It's one thing to just simply not think about it, it's another to send someone up knowing the dangers. For me, that's a distinction I think is important here. The coaches don't go up there, so they probably weren't thinking about the risks because it's not part of their routine. It is part of his, however, so if he'd brought it to their attention, I'm simply saying a much different decision may have been made.
    I wasn't there so I don't know what happened exactly.

    However, it appears that everyone there thought that it looked too dangerous for him to be up there. Before he got on it, he tweeted that there were 50 MPH winds, and even joked about how deadly it seemed.

    I would think that everyone else there, including school officials who were there, would have noticed this and simply not allow anyone to use the lift. It was reported that other schools have hard rules about when they use the lift in high winds. If ND had used rules like that, and shut down that part of the practice before it started, as they should have, Sullivan never would have needed to ask his coaches if it was safe.

    As I said before, the school is specifically set up to protect it's students, even from their own stupidity. That is one of their primary jobs as a school. They have to assume that the student's are not mature enough to protect themselves.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    Just wondering...

    So if tommorrow Ohio State offers me the head coaching job and I accept...suddenly I am responsible and legally liable for the safe working conditions of the video crew? I understand the fact that the minute I am hired I can pretty much boss anyone in the sports complex around...but legal liabilty for the support crew? I really don't know about that.

    I would just think this was more on the AD or the University as a whole (to have some sort of safety guidelines/procedures) than the head football coach.

    I don't know the hierarchy of athletic departments I will admit.
    Like I said before, I don't know if Kelly is responsible for this accident, that's a legal issue way above my paygrade.

    However, when you take a job as big as being the head coach of ND's football team, you better understand that you are responsible for many things that you have no control over. It's part of the price you pay taking such a big job.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Yes, I do think it's common sense to look at one of these typical scissor lifts and come to a determination that they would not be unsafe in high wind conditions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to come to that conclusion by looking at one. You keep calling this thing a "tower." We aren't talking about the Eiffel Tower here........ but a scissor lift. Please do a google search and look at one of these things. You're too smart not to understand this. I know this by being an avid reader of the ORG.

    I don't care how many players he has on the field. He is still responsible for the safety of all players, coaches, and personnel.

    I can agree with you on your point to a certain degree. There is a certain level of self responsibility in every decision we make, but this is a young kid who is going to be heavily influenced by his professor, employer, or coach. He isn't going to take lightly going against the instruction of any of them.
    Well, I know what they are and have seen them in person. I think it's semantics to worry about whether I call them a tower or lift or a castle. They serve the same purpose.

    But I think you're missing my point as far as the common sense approach.

    It's easy for us to say we think it's not a good idea to be on those things in 50 MPH winds (and I do not at all disagree). But my issue is that we're all thinking about this because it's been called to our attention to actually decide whether or not it's a good idea. If you're Brian Kelly, you're running a practice of 100 players, those lifts have been a part of your everyday routine and you're going about your everyday business, his perspective of the situation is not likely to be nearly as focused on the weather conditions pertaining to that lift as it is for us in hindsight. It wasn't an issue at the time because previously it had just been a small part of all that happens during practice.

    Jim Tressel, prophetically, did consider it. But honestly... in Kelly's shoes, I sincerely, strongly doubt that most of us would have considered it (prior to this incident) if we were in his position. We're creatures of habit. There was a set routine that they were accustomed to following for two months, and it's easy to criticize with benefit of hindsight, but that lift was probably not on his mind at the time. And given where his attention is, I can't say it's not at least partially understandable.

    Declan's perspective was much different. Unlike Kelly, he was used to being up there and knew what was relatively dangerous and what wasn't. It's not a stretch to say that because he, not Kelly, was in that situation, he knew the risks better than Kelly did. It was an issue for Sullivan because that was his perspective of the situation. For Kelly, it was just something in the background at another day at the ball yard.

    Ultimately Notre Dame has to have someone being up to par on those safety standards. Should that be the head coach? The equipment manager? The video coordinator? I don't know, but I'm not comfortable singling out Kelly for the negligence. But if we're talking about qualifications to know what was a bad situation, I would venture to say that even though he may be the guy 'in charge', he's probably in less a position to make that call than even Declan or the video guy. If the attention were brought to Kelly, perhaps Kelly's perspective changes and then he can use the same common sense approach you and I are discussing: yes, it doesn't seem like a good idea for anyone to be up there.

    I think, to a small degree, this was one of those live and learn situations, that unfortunately the price paid was one that is tragic to one particular life and his family and friends. It's an accident that could have been avoided, without question, but unfortunately the lines of responsibility about who should have known what is a bit blurred relative to some occupational hazards.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    I wasn't there so I don't know what happened exactly.

    However, it appears that everyone there thought that it looked too dangerous for him to be up there. Before he got on it, he tweeted that there were 50 MPH winds, and even joked about how deadly it seemed.

    I would think that everyone else there, including school officials who were there, would have noticed this and simply not allow anyone to use the lift. It was reported that other schools have hard rules about when they use the lift in high winds. If ND had used rules like that, and shut down that part of the practice before it started, as they should have, Sullivan never would have needed to ask his coaches if it was safe.

    As I said before, the school is specifically set up to protect it's students, even from their own stupidity. That is one of their primary jobs as a school. They have to assume that the student's are not mature enough to protect themselves.
    He knew that because he was the one going up there and it was foremost in his mind. That's kind of my point though, he's used to being up there so he has a better feel for the type of 'give' that thing would have. I think he was better qualified to think of the dangers than coaches who's attention was probably focused elsewhere. It's not that those people wouldn't think it was dangerous, but they simply weren't thinking of it to begin with, most likely.

    To me, you are hitting on a point that I'm trying to make... I'm not saying Notre Dame, as an institution, shouldn't have had some kind of policy in place. And ultimately, you have to make sure people using the device are aware of when they can use it, and if it shouldn't be used, there needs to be someone that knows to make that call. I agree wholeheartedly with all that.

    But that's why I'm saying I think too much emphasis is being put on Brian Kelly for what seems more like an overall institutional pitfall than negligence on Kelly's part.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda


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