Like any type of construction job, those who build New York tunnels face the risks of sustaining serious and fatal injuries. That's why Elon Musk, founder of the Boring Company, has begun seeking ways to use technology that will make tunneling safer, easier and less expensive.
According to Quartz, this is just another instance of Musk seeing a place where the economy is lacking and diving in with new ideas. For those who actually work on those tunnels, however, it is part of a larger conversation about safety and efficiency in construction projects.
A Technological Advantage
Musk has a number of factors playing into his attempt to increase the efficiency of tunnel boring. According to the Boring Company's website, "there is virtually no investment in tunneling Research and Development" in our country, which has stagnated in terms of productivity for fifty years. We are excited to see how investing in research and development will produce not only more effective tunneling, but also safer working conditions for construction crews above and below ground.
While automation would remove more workers from the most dangerous parts of the job, workers could still face dangerous conditions while constructing this project that will connect New York itself with cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
A More Complete Picture
Safety on these worksites will rely on more than simply introducing new research and technology. As with all other safety advances, the impact of Musk's work will only go as far as people apply it. Employers will have a responsibility to introduce new safety technology to their workers, ensure proper training is provided for their use, and work to keep supervisors and employees aware of policies and active in carrying them out.
Projects such as this one must also operate within the scope of the law. LA Weekly recently reported that Boring Company was already cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failure to provide workers with safe conditions and resources. As listed on their website, OSHA requires places strict regulations on underground construction in areas of air monitoring and ventilation, illumination, communications, flood control, personal protective equipment, emergency procedures, evacuation plans, check-in/check-out procedures, explosives, fire prevention and protection and mechanical equipment.
As long as employers put their own efficiency and productivity over the safety and lives of their employees, there will continue to be construction accidents - and we will continue to be here, fighting for your rights. Contact Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP today to learn more about how we can help you.