Elon Musk’s Boring Company Cited For Worker Safety Issues in Nevada

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Cited For Worker Safety Issues in Nevada

Elon Musk’s underground tunnel-digging enterprise, officially known as The Boring Company, has faced scrutiny over alleged worker safety violations in Nevada in recent years, according to a new report from Bloomberg Businessweek. And while no Boring Company workers have died in the state, the report highlights a number of issues ranging from long hours and a lack of personal protective equipment to “faulty machinery” and burns.

The Bloomberg report focuses heavily on a dig site that would see the Las Vegas Convention Center connected to the Encore and the Westgate hotels. The Boring Company first unveiled in 2021 what it calls the “Loop,” which is a fancy word for a Tesla vehicle driving in a tunnel under Las Vegas.

The report cites records from Nevada’s OSHA agency, obtained by Bloomberg through a state open records request, which details a toxic sludge that workers had to navigate which was capable of burning human skin. The burns on workers “became almost routine,” according to Bloomberg.

It’s not even clear that these tunnels will one day serve passengers if the mayor of Las Vegas is to be believed:

The Encore and Westgate tunnels are extensions, part of a theoretical project to widen coverage to most of the Strip and downtown Las Vegas. But progress has been slow—so slow that Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says she doubts it’ll ever happen. “It’s impractical,” says Goodman, who is claustrophobic and has yet to ride in any of the tunnels. “I pray that it works, but I see these stumbling blocks.” Among them, she says, are issues of capacity and safety.

The Boring Company, which was recently valued at roughly $US6 billion, was founded in 2016 and grew out of Musk’s desire to develop transportation solutions that would allow him to skip traffic jams. The billionaire tech founder first announced his plans for the Loop transportation system in 2018, including concept animation of a vehicle that could hold 16 people. But Musk’s achievements with tunnels have been much more humble than the promises of almost a decade ago. The autonomous 16-person vehicles that operated on futuristic “skates” turned into regular Teslas driving in tunnels at relatively slow speeds.

The Boring Company has been good at producing hype, including a splashy press conference in Chicago in 2018 that promised a tunnel from downtown to O’Hare Airport that could arrive in about 12 minutes. But most of Musk’s promises, including potential projects in Florida and Los Angeles, have yet to materialize. Bloomberg also notes that Musk’s 2017 tweet declaring that he’d “just received verbal govt approval” for the Boring Company to “build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop” wasn’t true. It’s still not clear what the billionaire meant by that.

The Boring Company didn’t immediately respond to questions emailed Monday afternoon but the Bloomberg report includes a note from the state records where company lawyers took issue with the OSHA citations, writing, “Nevada OSHA has failed to establish that the alleged violations occurred.”

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