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Wild Horse Pass cited by feds after employee death

The Wild Horse Pass Development Center could be fined $20,000 after a 30-year-old died in February following a crash at Rawhide Western Town.

PHOENIX — Federal investigators have determined that operators of the Rawhide Western Town theme park jeopardized the safety of its workers by not putting up signage near where a 30-year-old employee fatally crashed a scooter earlier this year. 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupations Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday it was citing Wild Horse Pass Development Center for two serious safety violations for not taking precautions that could have potentially prevented the death of one of its workers.

OSHA said Wild Horse Pass, which operates Rawhide on the Gila River Indian Community near Chandler, exposed employees to serious injuries after a nylon strap was strung across the opening of one of the park's gates. The strap had been hung up to try to keep the damaged gate closed. 

On Feb. 25, a worker was driving a cargo scooter when they drove through the gate and struck the tow strap, resulting in a collision that killed the park employee. 

OSHA investigators believe the crash could have been prevented if Wild Horse Pass had put up warning signs around the gate or ensured the tow strap was more visible with reflective materials.  

Wild Horse Pass additionally failed to properly train workers on how to safely operate cargo scooters, OSHA said.

The federal agency has proposed fining Wild Horse Pass more than $20,000 in financial penalties. The company has 15 days to respond to the citations and request a hearing before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to contest the allegations. 

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