OSHA fines Chandler-area event facility operator for safety failures after employee’s death

File photo of Rawhide Event Center near Chandler, on the Gila River Indian Reservation.
File photo of Rawhide Event Center near Chandler, on the Gila River Indian Reservation.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 9:53 AM MST
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CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined the operators of Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse, an East Valley event center that operates on the Gila River Indian Reservation, A federal investigation says that the death of a Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse employee could have been prevented.

In February, a 30-year-old employee died from injuries after driving a cargo scooter through an open gate and running into a nylon tow strap that was strung across. The strap was used as a way to keep the gate closed. The worker was taken to the hospital and later died.

OSHA says that Wild Horse Pass Development Authority, which operates the facility, exposed workers to serious injuries by failing to ensure the gate arm and strap were properly reflective and failed to put up appropriate signage to alert drivers of the road closure and detour. Safety standards require that barricades and gate closures be clearly marked with reflective materials topped with vertical stripes along their entire length. OSHA also learned the company had also not trained workers on the safe operation and use of cargo scooters.

The federal agency cited Wild Horse Pass Development Authority for two serious safety violations, which totaled $20,302 in penalties.

“Employers are legally obligated to ensure a safe and healthful workplace and train workers on the hazards they may face so that they can return home safely at the end of each workday,” says OSHA Phoenix-area Director T. Zachary Barnett.