Thirty-one-year-old Jack Hogan III died on July 29 from injuries sustained in a fall at around 12:40 p.m. Hogan fell while working in a thirty-foot-deep hole at the Sewickley Borough sewage treatment plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The accident occurred while Hogan was performing routine maintenance.
While in the hole, Hogan was overcome by unidentified gas fumes, which caused him to fall twenty feet into a pit. Hogan tried to climb out and radioed his co-workers for help. Three other workers came to his aid, but were unable to withstand the fumes. One co-worker, Franklin Pounds Jr., was still being treated for his injuries at Allegheny General Hospital a day after the accident.
According to the Allegheny County medical examiner, Hogan died of blunt force trauma, not from the inhalation of toxic gas. The incident has been ruled an accident.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating this workplace accident. OSHA normally conducts an investigation when a worker dies in a work-related accident. The agency must complete its investigation within six months.
Allegheny County is also involved in the investigation. The County Health Department regularly inspects sewage treatment plants. The last inspection of Sewickley, which indicated that no problems existed, occurred in April 2009.