Elon Musk’s Boring Co., concrete contractor cited on ‘Dirty Dozen’ list

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Dive Brief:

  • Elon Musk’s tunneling company and a Vegas iron reinforcing contractor are among the 2024 “Dirty Dozen” employers called out last week by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health for allegedly being unsafe and reckless.
  • National COSH selected SpaceX and The Boring Co., both owned by Musk, for one slot, citing workers who suffered crushed limbs, amputations, chemical burns and a preventable death. In addition, Black Iron Reinforcing, owned by XL Concrete, earned a spot for a worker death from electrocution, a partial finger amputation, 29 OSHA violations in a decade and allegedly denying election results after workers voted to join a union.
  • The organization releases the Dirty Dozen as part of observance of Workers’ Memorial Week, April 21 through April 28. The list is selected by the National COSH team using nominations from local COSH groups, worker centers, unions and nationwide advocates. 

Dive Insight:

Somerville, Massachusetts-based National COSH is a worker safety advocacy group, made up of 26 labor organizations. The council sometimes cites several years of a company’s history, which it annotates in its report, to justify each selection in its Dirty Dozen list.

For example, XL Concrete, based in Las Vegas, settled an OSHA citation for a $3,500 payment in November 2019 for a worker who was electrocuted and killed in March 2019. In September 2022, a majority of workers voted to join a labor union, but its subsidiary Black Iron Reinforcing, also based in Las Vegas, allegedly delayed the recognition process.

Finally, in testimony secured by National COSH, Victor Lopez, the International Iron Workers union representative, claimed a worker lost his finger on the job in September 2023 and Black Iron Reinforcing hid it, alleging that was a cycle of behavior for the company.

Black Iron Reinforcing declined to comment on the report and XL Concrete did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment.

Meanwhile, a Reuters report uncovered that Musk’s rocket company SpaceX had hundreds of unreported injuries, and National COSH alleged the billionaire values speed over worker safety and health. At the same time, The Boring Co., Musk’s tunneling firm, faces $112,504 in citations across eight fines from OSHA, which it is contesting. 

The Boring Co. and SpaceX did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment.

In addition to highlighting alleged bad actors, National COSH’s report highlighted other nationwide ills for the workforce, such as how increasing temperatures take their toll on employees.

Other companies selected in the Dirty Dozen for 2024 were:

  • The Alabama Department of Corrections.
  • Ascension, a St. Louis, Missouri-based healthcare firm.
  • Costa Farms, a Miami-based plant farming company.
  • Florence Hardwoods, a Florence, Wisconsin, sawmill.
  • Mar-Jac Poultry, a Jasper, Alabama, poultry processor, and Onin Staffing, a Birmingham, Alabama, temp agency.
  • Tyson Foods, the Springdale, Arkansas-based food company.
  • Uber and Lyft, the San Francisco-based ride share companies.
  • Valor Security and Investigations, based in New York City.
  • Waffle House, the Norcross, Georgia-headquartered restaurant chain.
  • Walmart, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant.

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