Elon Musk’s The Boring Company’s Safety Record Raises Concerns Among Employees

Elon Musk’s The Boring Company’s Safety Record Raises Concerns Among Employees

Recent investigations into The Boring Company, a tunneling startup founded by Elon Musk, have raised significant concerns about the safety of workers at its project sites. A recent investigation by Fortune found a widespread lack of accountability, unsafe working conditions and a series of surfaced injuries, casting a shadow over the company’s ambitious mission to revolutionize underground tunnel transportation.

In May, an alarming email from an employee at the Bastrop, Texas, site to Wayne Merideth, then the company’s head of security, revealed the dire situation: “I feel that the company in its together has been very lucky in recent months that there have been no deaths,” the employee wrote. This message was just one of many warnings Merideth received during her tenure, indicating a constant disregard for employee safety under pressure to meet high expectations and tight deadlines.

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Merideth’s attempts to address these security concerns were allegedly undermined by senior management, leading to her departure from the company. His experience is part of a broader story of safety issues at The Boring Company, which reported 36 injuries on its job sites to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over a six-month period in 2023.

The Boring Company’s pursuit of its goals resulted in working conditions that exposed employees to serious injury and even death. An OSHA investigation last summer, initiated by an anonymous tip, found that workers at the Las Vegas project site were at risk of burns from accelerator chemicals, among other hazards.

Despite having raised over $795 million in capital and having a vision for a transformative Hyperloop system, the operational reality of The Boring Company looks radically different. Its only functioning tunnel, a 2.4-mile stretch in Las Vegas, falls short of the grandiose ambitions set by Musk and implemented by Boring Chairman Steve Davis. The pressure to move these projects forward has led to an environment in which security considerations are pushed aside in favor of progress.

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Fortune’s investigation, based on interviews with former employees and a review of thousands of pages of documents, reveals a culture of neglect toward worker safety. Employees recount unsafe conditions, including exposure to dangerous chemicals, insufficient protective equipment and a relentless drive to continue working regardless of the risks.

These findings are not isolated incidents but are part of a pattern of security issues at Musk’s companies. The Boring Company’s challenges echo past concerns at other Musk-led companies, where the push for innovation has sometimes come at the expense of employee well-being. For example, in 2023, a court ruled that Tesla violated labor laws by attempting to silence workers over harsh working conditions. Before that, Tesla also violated labor laws by preventing its employees from unionizing.

In late 2023, Reuters also published an article revealing the dangerous conditions at SpaceX. The report, which highlights a large number of deaths and injuries at SpaceX facilities over the years. In 2014, the death of a 38-year-old retired Marine was widely reported at SpaceX facilities. Since the death, Reuters reported that there have been more than 600 injuries at SpaceX.

As The Boring Company continues its efforts, recent OSHA citations and scrutiny from former employees and safety advocates underscore the critical need for a balance between ambitious technological advancements and the fundamental right to an environment safe work. The future of Musk’s vision for underground transportation may well depend on whether he prioritizes the safety and well-being of those charged with bringing his ambitious ideas to life.

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This item ‘I refuse to be the first to die’: Elon Musk’s The Boring Company’s safety record reportedly left employees fearing for their lives originally appeared on Benzinga.com

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