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

The Operators

As the construction phase came to an end and operations began, the construction crews were sent on to other jobs and other locations. They were replaced by the new class of employees needed to keep the atomic assembly line running. There were a handful of scientists and Army officers, but many more engineers and managers, a legion of operating technicians -- male and female -- with a basic grounding in high school chemistry and science, and office workers and clerks. The Operators were younger, better educated, and had different skills than the Builders had. And the hazards on the job changed, too. Most workers had never heard of radiation, and they were rarely if ever warned about the specific hazards of the nuclear workplace. Du Pont and the Army Corps of Engineers maintained robust occupational safety and employee health programs, and conducted secret monitoring of and research on radiation hazards.

[This section requires archival research: What evidence exists of whistleblowing, or simply employee complaints/resolution about safety and/or radiation hazards.]

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