EH&S Challenges Shutting Down a Semiconductor Factory- “Not as Simple as Sweeping the Floors and Closing the Doors”

Britton, Bobby; Hunsaker, Harry
(GreenLeaf Americas, Colorado Springs, CO)

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When semiconductor manufacturing operations shutdown and facilities are prepared for sale, to be mothballed, or permanently abandoned, unique chemical hazards, safety issues, and environmental risks are present that often are not encountered during operations. Some hazards or challenges include 1) chemical by-products and/or reactive residues having a risk of exposure or severe reactivity that may not exist during normal operations and maintenance, 2) how to clean manufacturing equipment and chemical tank systems to eliminate risk and satisfy environmental standards, and 3) the challenge of making hazard recognition and control a key element of planning and executing non-routine demolition and decontamination activities. The chemical and physical hazards that were known or suspected to be present were identified. A database of hazards and controls was developed using a combination of manufacturing process experience, literature review of known chemistry and reactions within the manufacturing process, and past incidents from similar activities. Applicable environmental requirements were identified for the manufacturing equipment and included in the equipment decontamination procedures depending on the planned disposition of the equipment. Field reviews were conducted to verify compliance. In an effort to drive good behavioral safety for the non-routine tasks involved, the management team made hazard recognition and control a focus of every aspect of the project. Program elements included pre-task planning, job safety analyses, and management field walks focused on rewarding good hazard recognition. Daily tool box meetings and periodic site-wide safety meetings were also held. The management team focused topics at these meetings on hazards identified by trends from field observations. Potential hazards were communicated to project teams ahead of planned phases of the work to proactively prevent incidents as the scope of work changed. The project was completed with no severe injuries. However, even with a robust assessment process, minor injuries, serious near-miss incidents, and new chemical hazards were encountered and are discussed. The methods used were very successful to ensure compliance with all environmental requirements. Examples of results including pictures and a description of applicable regulations are discussed. The project employed over 250 company employees and construction workers. A summary of lessons will be presented.

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