"You’d be like, 'Why am I on fire?'"

Sludge Metal

Despite a decade of dreaming, Elon Musk has only built one tiny Hyperloop tunnel in Las Vegas — and the people who built it say it's filled with dangerous chemical sludge.

As Bloomberg reports, the Boring Company's scarce output — which thus far amounts only to driving Teslas around a few miles of neon-lit tunnel underneath Sin City as they ferry convention attendees at no more than 40 miles per hour — has also come with a massive buildup of waste, the consistency of a milkshake, that's said to burn the skin of anyone who comes in contact with it.

In interviews with the news source, Boring Company workers who declined to give their names on the record for fear of retribution said that in some parts of Musk's Vegas tunnel system, the sludge would sometimes be up to two feet high. If it got over their work boots or onto their faces, they said, it would burn their skin.

"You’d be like, 'Why am I on fire?'" one person who worked on the Hyperloop tunnels told Bloomberg.

Toxic Avenger

At one of the dig sites, which sits underneath the Encore Las Vegas hotel, the chemical sludge was filled not only with the commonplace byproducts of sand, silt, and water, but also accelerants used to set the grout to build the tunnels. As the sludge built up, so too did its associated safety risks — and as the workers told Nevada's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), people getting burned by the sludge was an almost routine occurrence.

The state OSHA opened its own investigation into the outrageous safety hazards said to be present in the Boring Company tunnels, and as Bloomberg learned from documents it accessed via a Freedom of Information Act request, some workers were scarred permanently from their accelerant burns.

Beyond burning people on the regular, the sludge literally gummed up the works in other dangerous ways as well — though apparently, nobody's been killed yet.

As Boring employees told OSHA, for instance, an intern almost got crushed by some two-ton concrete bins last summer when they collapsed because its metal brackets had become overloaded with the stuff.

The agency ultimately fined Boring more than $112,000 over eight violations it deemed "serious." The company is, as Musk businesses are wont to do, contesting it.

"Nevada OSHA has failed to establish that the alleged violations occurred," a Boring Company attorney wrote in a November 21 letter, which Bloomberg viewed via its FOIA request.

Massively overstated promises and workplace violations are a dime a dozen when it comes to Musk's portfolio — but toxic sludge is a new one.

More on Musk biz: Elon Musk Alarmed to Hear Tesla Had Screwed Local Pie Shop

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