WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Spring football practices are now going on for both Notre Dame and Purdue University, but with one difference: Notre Dame is replacing students on scissor lifts with robotic cameras.
Purdue University plans to continue to use the lifts. Notre Dame changed their policy after a student was killed using a lift last fall in high speed winds.
"We felt pretty comfortable before that. It's unfortunate that it took such a horrific incident as what happened there to kind of make everyone re-evaluate and look at what they are doing. But as I said earlier, safety has always been at the paramount of what we do with those young men and women," said Purdue University Assistant Athletic Director Tom Schott.
Schott said Purdue's policy on the use of scissor lifts is more stringent than the recommendation from the equipment company. He said the company recommends stopping use if wind speeds are more than 28 miles per hour. Schott said the university's policy is to raise the scissor lifts halfway if the wind speed is 22 mph and bring the lifts down completely if the wind speed is 23 mph or more.
"We also have an unwritten policy, that is a student who is hired to go up on one of the lifts is not comfortable going up for any reason, whether it's weather or any other reason they don't have to. There are no repercussions," said Schott.
Schott said Purdue pays seven undergraduate students to work in their video services area. He said they all undergo training and certification from the company that makes the lifts.
Scott Krug is the outside sales representative for Sunbelt Rentals in Lafayette. Sunbelt Rentals doesn't rent to Purdue football, but Krug said his company offers a four hour training course with every rental of a lift to ensure customers use them safely. He said unfortunately the accident in South Bend is not uncommon.
"It happens a lot more than people hear about it. Most of them aren't as publicized as that one was. It could go either way. We have definitely had an increase of training. We've had campuses want to move equipment around and try to get something safer for the kids to use," said Krug.
Schott said the university will continue watch how the new cameras will work at Notre Dame, but Purdue is not at the point yet to make the switch.
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