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

The Builders

The men who built Hanford, and the women who provided most of the administrative support during the construction era, came from all over the country to work on secret project that would "help win the war." Most got off the train in dirty, dusty Pasco after dark, and awoke to a bleak landscape that looked nothing like the evergreen Garden of Eden they had envisioned when they signed on to relocate to Washington state. The men were mostly too old to serve in combat, but had the construction skills needed for the breakneck pace of construction at Hanford. They worked under conditions of tight security and with few exceptions were fired and moved on at the end of the construction phase. Nonetheless, Hanford's military manager, the Army Corps of Engineers, and it's industrial general contractor, Du Pont, worked hard to keep workers safe. During the war, Hanford had the best safety rating of all of the comparable wartime construction projects.


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