A company whose employee died while attempting a tow during a winter storm state of emergency has been cited for safety violations by OSHA.

North Carolina-baseed Belhaven Shipyard and Marina Inc. - doing business as TowBoatUS River Forest - faces $11,640 in proposed penalties.

A towboat operated by the company overturned and sank when weather and water conditions deteriorated, resulting in the death of a worker.

OSHA has cited the company for:

  • failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards by allowing employees to attempt the tow during a declared state of emergency
  • not ensuring employees wore personal flotation devices; and
  • exposing employees to drowning hazards by providing a floatation device not designed for use in freezing temperatures.

“This tragedy never should have happened,” said OSHA Raleigh Area Office Director Kim Morton. “It could have been prevented if the employer had made worker safety a priority and heeded warnings of the state of emergency from an approaching storm.”