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Musk's Boring Company fined for violations at Vegas underground tunnel

An OSHA report says about 15 to 20 workers were injured by chemical burns at the construction site of the Vegas Loop underground tunnel last summer.
Musk's Boring Company fined for violations at Vegas underground tunnel
Posted at 12:01 PM, Feb 28, 2024

Elon Musk's Boring Company has been fined more than $112K for safety violations by the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the Vegas Loop underground tunnel last summer.

According to the OSHA inspection, about 15 to 20 workers were injured while working at the tunnel in the span of two months. The inspection report alleges a chemical mixture inadvertently went into the skin of between 10 and 15 workers causing rashes and burns.

The report goes on to say no showers were available for workers sprayed by the hazards. OSHA also found there was no personal protective equipment provided to protect workers against the chemicals.

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"If at any point in the future the city or Clark County takes on large scale projects from private construction companies, there needs to be a lot of checkmarks," said Benjamin Leffel, a professor of public policy at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Leffel evaluates large projects and their impact on communities. He questions the amount of oversight the Vegas Loop is receiving.

"It seems to me to show the hazards of leaving too much discretion to a private company," said Leffel. "In this situation we have to ask, where exactly did the policy gap occur?"

The Boring Company contested all eight citations which were given serious violations. OSHA defines serious as "there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could occur." 

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A company called Jackson Lewis filed a notice of contest to OSHA on behalf of the Boring Company, writing in part: "TBC contests all citations issued by Nevada OSHA. In addition to TBC's belief that Nevada OSHA has failed to establish that the alleged violations occurred, TBC contests all of the citations' classifications, required abatement, abatement deadlines, proposed penalties, and every other matter subject to contest."

The Boring Company did not respond to Scripps News Las Vegas' request for comment. Nevada OSHA said it cannot comment on this matter because the employer is contesting all citations.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority provided a statement reading: "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."

This story was originally published by Jaewon Jung at Scripps News Las Vegas.

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