Trajectories of Risk: Mapping Safety, Health, and Risk at Hanford

About the Project

Welcome to Trajectories of Risk: Mapping Risk, Safety, and Health at HanfordI am a faculty member at Washington State University, who teaches technical and professional writing and studies the way workers and citizens in company towns communicate about workplace, environmental, and public health risks. This project, which is in its earliest stages, aims to research and document the experiences of workers and neighbors that have had prolonged relationships with the site that was once known as the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. My primary focus is on the stories workers and citizens tell about their own experiences navigating the workplace and bureaucratic processes when they have had concerns about health, safety, and environmental contamination. 

Trajectories of Risk is a case study of one very complicated work site that is in a complex relationship with many individuals, communities, civic and watchdog groups, corporate managers, and public agencies. One aim of this project is to give citizens who have not had a public forum for telling their stories a forum for doing precisely that. Another aim of this project is to collect a data set of narratives from individuals who have bumped up against the complicated machinery of prime and sub-contractors and state and federal agencies as they have attempted to resolve concerns about safety, health, or the environment in order to analyze those narratives. I hope to learn two things: First, I hope to identify strategies used by individuals who feel they have been successful in resolving their concerns or complaints as well as strategies and tactics used by the entities with power to shut down such complaints. Second, I hope to identify the factors that push some individuals to become "whistleblowers," and to identify the strategies they use to transition into this role.

How the site is organized

This site is organized around two ways of approaching Hanford's story: One navigational path introduces you to Hanford's people; the builders, operators, managers, cleaners, fixers (problem-solvers), and watchdogs, whose lives and work intersect with Hanford's toxic legacy. The other navigational path introduces you to some of Hanford's biggest challenges: the tank farms with their leaking containers of toxic sludge, groundwater contamination, airborne contamination, and soil contamination. The final component of the site provides information on how you might share your own stories and contribute to our collection of oral histories.


This page has paths:

Contents of this path: