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Tragic Story Emphasizes the Need for Premise Safety

Premise safety is a broad issue, often compromised by very specific shortcomings. Sometimes these safety issues come as a surprise to everyone involved, but many times they are absolutely preventable.

On Wednesday, students at the University of Notre Dame were in shock after a 50-foot tower holding one of their classmates collapsed amidst winds of up to 60 mph. The student, a film major, was taping the Fighting Irish's football practice, something that is common at colleges around the country.

With the tower lift extended high into the air, the student was extremely vulnerable to the elements. Given the bad weather and high winds, the student should never have been allowed to get into the lift.

The company that manufactures the tower, known as a scissor lift, recommends that the product not be used in winds over 25 mph. The gust that toppled this tower, taking with it the life of a 20-year-old junior, was 51 mph.

Now, colleges across the country are reconsidering the safety guidelines in place around the use of such towers. Surprisingly, there don't seem to be many at all.

It seems strange that the use of such equipment would not be heavily regulated, but as Cindy Boren reports for The Washington Post, "while the NCAA has a severe-weather policy for schools, it is not certain whether it pertains to lifts."

That may soon change, but it's tragic that it took the death of a student to bring about more comprehensive premise liability considerations.

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