Gambling With Lives: A History of Occupational Health in Greater Las Vegas

Gambling With Lives: A History of Occupational Health in Greater Las Vegas

by Michelle Follette Turk

Paperback(Second Edition, Revised and Expanded Edi)

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Overview

The United States has a long and unfortunate history of exposing employees, the public, and the environment to dangerous work. But in April 2009, the spotlight was on Las Vegas when the Pulitzer committee awarded its public service prize to the Las Vegas Sun for its coverage of the high fatalities on Las Vegas Strip construction sites. The newspaper attributed failures in safety policy to the recent “exponential growth in the Las Vegas market.” In fact, since Las Vegas’ founding in 1905, rapid development has always strained occupational health and safety standards.

Gambling with Lives examines the work, hazards, and health and safety programs from the early building of the railroad through the construction of the Hoover Dam, chemical manufacturing during World War II, nuclear testing, and dense megaresort construction on the Las Vegas Strip. In doing so, this comprehensive chronicle reveals the long and unfortunate history of exposing workers, residents, tourists, and the environment to dangerous work—all while exposing the present and future to crises in the region. Complex interactions and beliefs among the actors involved are emphasized, as well as how the medical community interpreted and responded to the risks posed. 

Updated through 2020, this second edition includes new and expanded discussions on:
  • Union activity, sexual harassment and misconduct, and race and employment
  • The change to Las Vegas’ “What happens here, stays here” slogan
  • The MGM Grand Fire and 1918 influenza pandemic
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the service industry
  • Legionnaire’s Disease outbreaks at resorts
  • Effects of the Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting
  • The COVID-19 pandemic

Few places in the United States contain this mixture of industrial and postindustrial sites, the Las Vegas area offers unique opportunities to evaluate American occupational health during the twentieth century, and reminds us all about the relevancy of protecting our workers.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948908924
Publisher: University of Nevada Press
Publication date: 12/15/2020
Series: Shepperson Series in Nevada History Series
Edition description: Second Edition, Revised and Expanded Edi
Pages: 378
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 17 - 18 Years

About the Author

Michelle Follette Turk is a historian of occupational health and Nevada. She has authored scholarly articles on medicine and labor at Hoover Dam and is a lecturer on using Hoover Dam to teach history and Las Vegas medical history. She currently teaches history at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 The Railroad 22

Chapter 2 The Dam 67

Chapter 3 The Plant 122

Chapter 4 The Test Site 184

Chapter 5 The Strip 243

Conclusion 314

Bibliography 331

Index 347

About the Author 377

What People are Saying About This

Christoper Sellers

“This well-documented and knowledgeable work spans an entire century of occupational safety and health in one fascinating and revealing corner of the American West: the greater Las Vegas area. No other work in the history of American industrial or occupational health does quite what it does. Following a particular place over this long a time span, it shows how far we’ve come in grappling with workplace dangers, but also how little progress we’ve made."

Christopher Sellers

“This well-documented and knowledgeable work spans an entire century of occupational safety and health in one fascinating and revealing corner of the American West: the greater Las Vegas area. No other work in the history of American industrial or occupational health does quite what it does. Following a particular place over this long a time span, it shows how far we’ve come in grappling with workplace dangers, but also how little progress we’ve made."

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