Exploring Opportunities to Further Eliminate Potential Equipment Related Exposures

McIntyre, CIH, Andrew
(Environmental and Occupational Risk Management, (EORM, Inc.) )

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In response to allegations of increased cancer risk for semiconductor industry fabrication workers, the Semiconductor Industry Association commissioned a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) whose primary objective was to conduct an independent, objective analysis of whether potential semiconductor “clean room” chemical exposures are likely to elevate cancer risk and, based on this analysis, make appropriate recommendations to SIA. The SAC concluded that there was no affirmative evidence of increased risk of cancer for the fab population and also reported that insufficient data exists to conclude whether exposure to chemicals or other hazardous materials has or has not increased cancer risk. As a result, the SAC provided recommendations to the SIA for further studies. The SIA outlined various follow-up actions known collectively as the “Worker Health Project” which included the identification of Primary Prevention Initiative (PPI) Tasks. These PPI Tasks had multiple objectives and focused on further strengthening of ongoing efforts to ensure a safe workplace, and were designed to provide member companies with a broader base of knowledge to help enhance their existing worker safety programs. One of the PPI projects identified as a priority was the need to study certain manufacturing process areas to: · Identify opportunities for capital equipment suppliers to demonstrate further hazard mitigation through changes to normal operation, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures and tool design · Identify alternatives that might provide opportunities to reduce and/or eliminate the need for administrative controls as the primary means of preventing unsafe exposures Areas chosen included Etch, Implant, Thin Films, CVD and Epitaxy. This paper focuses on a review of the Semiconductor Industry Association Worker Health Initiative (WHI) Primary Prevention Initiative (PPI) project conducted by Environmental & Occupational Risk Management (EORM) and important findings and conclusions as they pertain to innovative controls and techniques being used to further minimize potential exposures during equipment maintenance.

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