Musk’s Boring Company makes list of ‘Dirty Dozen’ workplace safety offenders 

By: - April 30, 2024 3:44 pm

A Tesla is driven into a tunnel at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Two companies doing business in Las Vegas, the Boring Company and Black Iron, are among the “Dirty Dozen” identified by the National Council of Occupational Safety and Health as workplace safety offenders. National COSH is an organization dedicated to worker safety. 

Workers at Elon Musk’s Space-X and the Boring Company say Musk “is obsessed with speed but disregards safety, emphasizing profit over the well-being of workers,” the report says. 

The Boring Company did not respond to a request for comment. 

Musk, who once floated a mass transit hyperloop constructed in a tube-like structure, is digging tunnels under the Las Vegas tourism corridor to shuttle passengers in Teslas between resorts and other destinations. 

A story from Bloomberg says workers connecting the Las Vegas Convention Center with the Westgate, and later, the Encore, “had to wade through” two feet of muck every day. “It splashed up over their boots, hit their arms and faces and soaked through their clothes.”  

The muck contained chemical accelerants that help cure the grout for the tunnels’ concrete supports, and “seriously burn human skin,” the story says. 

An investigation by Nevada OSHA “describes workers being scarred permanently on their arms and legs. According to the investigation, at least one employee took a direct hit to the face.”

Employees also told investigators an intern came close to being crushed last year when a bin made out of two-ton concrete blocks filled with muck 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.  

Black Iron, a Las Vegas subsidiary of XL Concrete, also landed on the Dirty Dozen list.

“Workers report lack of training, no protection from extreme heat, and retaliation – including threats of deportation– for reporting safety concerns,” National COSH wrote of Black Iron in its report.  

“We’re not interested at the moment,” a company representative said when asked to comment. 

In September last year, Black Iron employee Marco Resendez lost his thumb when it was sliced off by a piece of rebar that penetrated the cage off his. At the time, Resendez was assigned to light duty because of a previous injury. 

From 2014 through 2023, XL Concrete, the parent company of Black Iron, had 29 safety violations, according to COSH. 

Workers at Black Iron in Las Vegas voted in September 2022 to join the Ironworkers Union, but the company objected, resulting in a delay that is approaching two years. 

“These are unsafe and reckless employers, risking the lives of workers and communities by failing to eliminate known, preventable hazards – and in at least one case, actively lobbying against better protections for workers,” says National COSH, which “supports workers in speaking up to protect themselves and their coworkers and in claiming their rightful role as essential partners with employers and with policy and decision makers.”  

The Dirty Dozen are selected by the National COSH team, based on the severity of safety risks to workers; repeat and serious violations; the position of a company within its industry and the economy and its ability to influence broader workplace standards; and the presence of a campaign to correct health and safety risks.

In 2022, 5,486 U.S. workers died from sudden workplace trauma, a 5.7% increase from 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.