The North Carolina Department of Labor has proposed fines totaling $9,000 against Harvey Fertilizer and Gas Co. for a workplace electrical accident in April that left one worker dead and two others injured.

The Labor Department cited the company, doing business as Cashwell and Jones Inc. off N.C. 55 West, Mount Olive, for two alleged violations of state law that the department listed as “serious.”

One employee was killed and two others seriously injured when a flagpole they were erecting outside Cashwell and Jones contacted a power line, the Labor Department said.

Francisco Sanchez Colchado, 50, died in the April 14 accident. Luztain Escalante, 53, and Barney Hiram Kirby, 33, were injured.

The employees were erecting a 33-foot aluminum flagpole approximately 19 feet from energized overhead power lines, the Occupational Safety and Health Division said.

In the first of two violation citations, the division said the employer did not instruct each employee on how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions in their work environment to control or eliminate hazards.

In the second citation, the division said employees were permitted to work near electric power circuits and were not protected against electric shock by de-energizing and grounding the circuits or effectively guarding the circuits by insulation or other means.

The division proposed a penalty of $4,500 for each of the two violations.

“The penalties are in no way designed to make up for loss of life,” said Jennifer Haigwood, communications director for the state Labor Department.

The maximum penalty for each serious violation is $7,000, Haigwood said. She said that under state law, the Labor Department must consider factors including the gravity of the violation, the size of the business, the good faith of the employer and history of previous violations.

Fines collected by the Labor Department must be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund, which then distributes the money to public-school systems, Haigwood said.

Harvey Fertilizer and Gas Co. of Kinston has 15 working days from receipt of the Oct. 8 citation to request an informal conference with the Labor Department, file a notice of contest with the state Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission or pay the penalty.

Harvey Fertilizer and Gas Co. had no comment on the proposed fines.