• Arizona Contractor & Community

US Department of Labor cites Phoenix-area event facility operator for safety failures

Required measures could have prevented tragedy at Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse


A 30-year-old worker succumbed to injuries after an incident at the Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse at the Gila River Indian Community near Chandler. A federal investigation determined the fatality could have been prevented if the employer had implemented required safety measures.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that, in the early hours of Feb. 25, 2022, the worker was driving a cargo-scooter through what appeared to be an open gate and sustained severe injuries when they ran into a nylon tow strap strung across the opening. The worker was transported to an area hospital and later died. The strap was hung to try to keep the damaged gate closed.

OSHA inspectors found that Wild Horse Pass Development Center, operator of the Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse, exposed workers to serious injuries from struck-by hazards by failing to ensure the gate arm and strap were adequately reflective, and by failing to erect appropriate signage alerting drivers to the road closure and detour. Safety standards require that barricades and gate closures be clearly marked with reflective materials topped with vertical stripes along its entire length. OSHA also learned the company had not trained workers on the safe operation and use of cargo scooters.

The agency cited Wild Horse Pass Development Center for two serious safety violations, and proposed $20,302, in penalties.

“A worker’s life was lost because Wild Horse Pass failed to follow federal safety requirements,” said OSHA Area Director T. Zachary Barnett in Phoenix. “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.”

Located near Chandler, Rawhide Western Town Inc. is an event management provider that operates Rawhide Western Town and Event Center. Part of the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority, the center includes more than 18 venues including a western town, event center and multi-use soccer stadium. The facility hosts competitions, concerts, festivals and other special events.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.