Energized Electrical Work Practices in a Clean Room Environment

Durham, Greg ; Evans, James
(Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX)

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Working as an equipment engineering technician in a fab environment can present risks from many sources, such as exposure to hazardous chemicals, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, ergonomic risks and electrical hazards. The newer generation tool sets are better designed to minimize risks via increased voluntary conformance to SEMI S2, S8, and S14 equipment design and evaluation guidelines. In addition, exercising effective hazardous energy control (lock-out/tag-out) procedures in compliance with OSHA’s standard further serves to minimize risks to potentially hazardous energy sources. Unfortunately, neither OSHA, nor NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code) have adequately addressed or defined safety precautions for working on energized equipment at hazardous levels (over 50 volts), as these regulations are largely limited to power generation, transmission, and distribution installations, premises wiring, and electric utilization systems. Little attention had been paid by regulators applicable to servicing, troubleshooting, and other diagnostics associated with manufacturing equipment. In 2000, the NFPA released NFPA 70E , Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces, which significantly helps in closing this gap by defining electrical safety program requirements for working on electric conductors and equipment installed within or on buildings. This presentation will describe how one company has developed an energized work practices program to implement the elements of this new standard, and to help ensure the safety of our equipment engineering technicians and manufacturing specialists. The clean room environment presents unique challenges associated with working clearances and the use of appropriate electrical personal protective equipment, which will also be addressed.

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