LUBBOCK, Texas — An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) found a Texas employer failed to follow required workplace safety standards following the death of teenager in Guthrie.

According to a press release from the DOL, a 15-year-old suffered fatal injuries while installing fencing in Guthrie for Sheppard Farm and Ranch Services LLC.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors went to the work site on July 6, 2022. They learned the teenager had been trapped under heavy equipment, the DOL said.

“[Inspectors] determined that Sheppard Farm and Ranch Services LLC of Robert Lee had illegally modified a Caterpillar loader and failed to provide adequate training or personal protective equipment, such as a hard hat, gloves and safety glasses. The company also did not report the workplace fatality within 8 hours after it occurred, another violation for which OSHA issued a citation,” the press release said.

OSHA has proposed penalties of $20,512 which are amounts set by federal statute for five violations.

“This tragic event cut short a worker’s life before they reached adulthood,” said OSHA Area Director Elizabeth Linda Routh in Lubbock, Texas in the press release. “This deadly incident might have been prevented had legally required standards – proven methods for protecting workers from serious construction industry hazards – been followed.”

Sheppard Farm and Ranch Services LLC is a farm and ranch fencing company whose five employees provide fencing services in West Texas.

The DOL said the company has 15 business days from receipt of 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.