Ergonomic Hazard Assessment in Fast-Paced Semiconductor Lab R&D Environment

Gus Arroyo

For over three decades, semiconductor suppliers, standard organizations, and technical experts have developed standards to enable technology innovation and manufacturing supply chain. Among these efforts, environmental, health and safety standards have been established to eliminate and control fault conditions that may cause significant harm to property, people, and the environment. A highlight of these standards is the focus on physical injury, cognitive overload, and system maintainability through the scope of ergonomics and human factors design.

Traditionally, ergonomics and human factors in semiconductor industry have been championed through the use of SEMI S8, Safety Guideline for Ergonomics Engineering of Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment. The target of these guidelines has primarily been equipment used to manufacture, measure, assemble, and test semiconductor products in high volume production facilities. Thus, it is not always appropriate to apply these guidelines to equipment utilized outside that environment. Lab equipment or in-house set ups in more Research & Development operations, often differ on scale, user profile, and maintainability demands.

To address this gap, an ergonomic hazard assessment process was developed. To screen for potential ergonomic hazards and design limitations to facilitate new lab equipment design and procurement. The desired outcome of the process is to empower engineering teams with a tool that can enable more rapid iteration of testing equipment development, minimize time and resources required for third-party evaluation, minimize process deficiencies, and reduce injury risk throughout the lab equipment lifecycle.

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