August 2, 2023
Inspection finds Houston steel construction company's history of ignoring employee safety requirements continues
Sonny Steel Erectors' history of exposing employees to hazards dates back to 2011
HOUSTON – Despite an extensive history of serious and repeat violations dating back more than a decade, a Houston steel erection company again failed to correct fall protection systems hazards, a federal workplace safety investigation has found.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration discovered employees of Sonny Steel Erectors Inc. lacked required fall protection as they worked on erecting a steel building in Cypress in February 2023.
OSHA cited the company for one serious violation for not securing a ladder at its top to a rigid support, one willful violation for allowing workers to erect buildings taller than 15 feet without fall protection, and one repeat violation for failing to ensure employees using an aerial lift stood firmly on the basket's floor and that a body belt or a lanyard was attached to the boom or basket. The agency has proposed $266,416 in penalties.
The agency cited Sonny Steel Erectors in February 2019, July 2019 and October 2022 for not making sure a body belt or a lanyard was attached to the boom or basket when employees worked from an aerial lift. OSHA also cited the company in July 2019 and October 2020 for not making sure employees always stood firmly on the floor of the basket and did not sit or climb on the edge of the basket.
"Sonny Steel Erectors seems unwilling to end its long and troubling history of putting its employees at risk of serious injury or worse," said OSHA Area Director Mhekeba Hager in Houston. "Our latest inspection found the company failed to correct hazards associated with violations dating back to 2011. We will not allow this company to continue its willful disobedience of the law."
Operating in Houston since 1999, Sonny Steel Erectors Inc. has about 50 workers who specialize in commercial structural steel erection.
OSHA's stop falls webpage offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures.
Sonny Steel Erectors Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of citation 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.
Release Number: 23-1684-DAL