Niles business cited by state of Michigan for COVID-19 safety violations

NOW: Niles business cited by state of Michigan for COVID-19 safety violations

NILES, Mich. -- Six Michigan businesses are now facing penalties for not complying with COVID-19 safety guidelines – one of them, a construction company in Berrien County.

That business is Hills Roofing, based here in Niles, reportedly cited for not social distancing workers or requiring masks and for not having any COVID-19 preparedness plan in place.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or MIOSHA, cited six companies in its first round of inspections by doing random sweeps to make sure they’ve implemented state-mandated safety protocols.

“MIOSHA started using the general duty clause, which is that every employer must provide a workplace that’s free from recognized hazards. In any workplace, even construction where it’s mostly outside, if workers are coming within six-feet of each other they still need to be wearing those face coverings,” said Sean Egan, Michigan COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director.

The price for not complying – up to $7,000. Hills Roofing being fined $5,300.

“There’s some factors taken into consideration such as good faith – was the employer trying to do everything right and just missed a few steps, the size of the employer, if there are serious infractions or repeat infractions then those fines can really start to escalate,” said Egan.

Egan said while the influx of information initially caused confusion for some businesses, with plenty of online resources and time being given to employers, there’s now no excuse for not following the rules.

“MIOSHA created a hotline very early in the crisis that any employer can call with questions about COVID-19 and we have been doing webinars to talk through these guidelines,” said Egan. “We have a sample Preparedness and Response Plan that’s been up for months, everything is in place for employers to have the things they need to do this safely.”

For those six companies that were cited, they must now provide proof to MIOSHA that they’ve fixed those deficiencies in their business – they also have the option to appeal. As for Hills Roofing, ABC57 reached out to the owner for a response and have not heard back.

Share this article: