Elon’s Boring Company Makes List of ‘Dirty Dozen’ Worker Safety Violators

Estimated read time 4 min read

The National Council of Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) doesn’t dig the Boring Company. It’s named Elon Musk’s tunneling business to its annual list of “Dirty Dozen” workplace safety offenders.

A photo from a report by the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration shows a Vegas Loop tunnel, through which Boring Company employees are forced to walk while working, flooded with a sludge containing dangerous chemicals. (Image: OSHA)

According to the COSH report, workers at the Boring Company say Musk “is obsessed with speed but disregards safety, emphasizing profit over the well-being of workers.”

In February, the Boring Company was fined more than $100K for eight serious safety violations by the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA defines “serious” violations as associated with a “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could occur.”

According to the OSHA report, 15-20 Boring Company employees had their skin burned by chemicals while connecting hoses last June. The chemicals — accelerants designed to cure the grout for the tunnels’ concrete supports — reportedly splashed up onto the employees and soaked through their clothing, leaving more than one with permanently scarred arms and legs and hitting another directly in the face.

No showers were available for the injured workers, according to OSHA, which also found that the Boring Company didn’t provide employees with appropriate eye and face protection, or proper hazardous materials training.

Employees also told OSHA that another worker was nearly crushed last year when a holding tank for the toxic sludge, constructed from two tons of concrete blocks, collapsed.

OSHA issued eight violations and fined the Boring Company $112,000. The Boring Company is contesting all penalties, as well as the need for abating worker hazards.

The Boring Company didn’t respond to interview requests. However, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority issued the following statement at the time:

“The OSHA violations were brought to our attention by The Boring Company last summer. Those incidents were reviewed and addressed at that time. The LVCVA is committed to ensuring the health and safety of those employed on any LVCVA project. That expectation was emphasized with The Boring Company during last summer’s review.”

COSH selects its annual Dirty Dozen offenders based on the severity of safety risks, the frequency of repeat and serious violations, the standing of a company within its industry and the economy, and the presence of safeguards in place to mitigate health and safety risks.

Last week, a Clark County Commissioner accused the Boring Company of illegally dumping wet dirt and other material dug out for its Vegas Loop underground tunnel project in a private Las Vegas lot just east of the Strip.

A week before that, the Boring Company was cited by Clark County for exposing support beams at the Las Vegas Monorail during grading maneuvers.

Neither of these new accusations was cited by COSH.

Reality didn’t live up to the dream. (Image: The Boring Company)

Thrown for a Loop

The Vegas Loop was initially proposed as a hyperloop tube that would shuttle up to 18 passengers at a time at speeds of up to 150 mph.

However, sometime after the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority agreed to pay $48.6 million to the Boring Company to manage and operate the project in 2019, it devolved into a system of tunnels through which plain old Teslas, not even self-driving ones, shuttle up to three passengers at a time at an unimpressive top speed of 35-40 mph.

The Vegas Loop currently connects four points at the Las Vegas Convention Center with Resorts World, with stations set to open soon at the Westgate and Wynn Las Vegas. Eventually, the system is expected to connect 69 or more stations, from south of the Las Vegas Strip north to downtown Las Vegas.

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