Yet another Elon Musk-founded company is under scrutiny. Musk's Boring Company -- the literal pipedream that turned into a surprising Twitter-inspired reality -- has recently been cited by California authorities for alleged workplace violations. The information comes from a recent report from LA Weekly and reporter Dennis Romero.
According to the LA Weekly piece, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) found alleged violations of hazardous cranes or derricks, inadequate stair/handrails, insufficient labeling of potentially hazardous materials and inadequate handwashing facilities. The violations also included inadequate posting of an emergency plan from the Cal/OSHA reports dated last month, Romero noted.
However, the company is still in the testing phase, something company officials quickly pointed out. The Boring Company fired back at the report, calling the items "general" and "non-serious," but reminding the public that safety remains the company's top priority. The company issued a statement which can be read in full below:
"A few months ago, The Boring Company was cited by CalOSHA for a handful of items. All items were classified as “General” and “Non-serious”, the least significant of all CalOSHA citations. All items, with the exception of one, were fixed the same day, with that one item being fixed the next day. None of the items referred to any action in the actual tunnel, and were all surface or shaft observations.
Safety is our top priority. We have a CalOSHA certified safety inspector and gas tester on site at all times, and our procedures meet, and typically exceed CalOSHA standards and regulations. We are also advancing tunneling technology in order to make it safer, including the automation of most tunneling tasks and the replacement of cranes with elevators."
Romero's reporting also pointed out a deceptively small scale of what Hawthorne city officials allowed Musk to tunnel compared with how much Musk plans on tunneling. According to Romero, Hawthorne Mayor Alex Vargas said the city gave the Boring Company permission to tunnel "under Hawthorne Boulevard." That's just 950 feet of tunneling approved by local officials. Cal/OSHA also calls the test tunnel an extension of a preexisting pedestrian tunnel that the city of Hawthorne had already approved, according to city spokesman Frank Polizzi. That statement contradicts earlier reports that Hawthorne city officials had approved the full 2 mile stretch in August for testing and development in the area.
Business Insider noted in a recent report that the Boring Company is still seeking approval to extend the tunnel under Los Angeles's busy Interstate 405 toward the Los Angeles International Airport.
The company's testing and construction are far from over. Within the last month, Musk added a second boring machine to the fleet.
Other Roadblocks for the Boring Company
Unfortunately, this isn't the only hiccup in Elon Musk's dream. In July, Musk tweeted that he had received "verbal govt approval" for the Boring Company to start digging on the East Coast. He tweeted plans that included cities, and he has already partnered with local governments in those areas to lay the foundations for a hyperloop system.
City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017
However, on Monday Nov. 13, the same White House official who 'gave' Musk permission cleared up his statement and took a step back. White House Advisor Reed Cordish made the statement while speaking with Musk at an Internet Association event in San Francisco.
"I think what you heard was verbal government excitement," Cordish said he told Musk. However, it doesn't mean that Musk's east-coast hyperloop won't happen -- just that the Boring Company CEO might've jumped the gun on preparations.
"That's innovation...if we could tunnel from Washington D.C. or New York or even Boston," Cordish said. "We'll all work together for actual government approval."
The verbal mix up doesn't change the fact that the Boring Company was granted state approval beneath the Baltimore-Washington Parkway earlier in October. The company will start digging a 10.3-mile tunnel in Hanover, Maryland, but construction has not started on that project.