In an ideal world, ensuring your chip engineers are cared for by the next simple compliance, training, and safety protocols would be easy. But in real life, it’s rarely this direct.
FREMONT, CA: Semiconductor operations and manufacturing are filled with potential industrial health and safety hazards, for example, toxic gases, flammable acids, and other harmful solvents. In addition, equipment mishandling or safety control slip-ups can further create unsafe conditions in cleanrooms, laboratories, and fabrication plants.
While national standards address worker safety and health, accidents can occur when they’re least expected. And without the proper preparation and safeguards, these risks can defile the work environment and hurt employees.
Since some risks aren’t clear, it’s crucial to stay vigilant to the causes of workplace accidents and find ways for engineering leaders to safeguard engineers’ wellbeing.
According to Randstad, some leading causes of workplace accidents include distractions, rushed processes, and lack of training.
For busy engineers in the workplace, it’s simple to get distracted by conversations, constantly checking notifications, or even attempting to multitask. However, when these distractions are left unchecked, engineers may unwittingly miss an important step in a process that ensures safe and focused working conditions.
Time is close for most people at work, but rushing through work can have adverse consequences. For example, in the interest of time, engineers may choose the wrong tool or act impulsively — thus endangering themselves and the people around them.
Lack of training
Ample safety training expands far beyond a one-and-done onboarding presentation. Engineers, management, and contractors should have regular, complete instructions on correctly using the equipment, electricals, and chemicals. Insufficient safety training can introduce considerable hazards to the workplace.
How to reduce workplace risk and accidents
Develop a risk assessment
A thorough risk assessment is essential to identifying and evaluating workplace occupational safety and health issues. Assessments should often be reviewed and revisited, new processes change anytime, and hazards are identified.
To prepare for risk assessment in fabrication plants, an expert or team must pick the scope of the risk, the required resources, the type of risk analysis measure, relevant stakeholders, and any laws, regulations, codes, or standards that may apply. It’s even best practice to supplement the assessment with specific details like methods/tools used in processing, duration and frequency of the job, and any possible impact on other areas or people.
Coordinate on-the-job training
Health and safety training is needed for every new hire, but that should not be the extent of their training. Instead, employees should receive continuous monthly or quarterly training throughout their careers, particularly if their job responsibilities have changed over time.
Employers can adjust each employee’s training for his or her role using a mix of online courses, certifications, and webinars. Programs equipped with a complete suite of courses such as Semitracks or SESHA help educate semiconductor employees about workplace hazards and how to handle chemicals, emergency responses, product labeling/packaging, and more in every part of the fabrication lab setting.
Implement safety controls and resources
Implementing safety management into semiconductor operations lets everyone in the workplace take proactive and preventive measures on their materials. This may involve documentation outlining how to carefully select, test and cross-check materials, exposure levels to the legal requirements, and guidelines for conducting a proper routine safety analysis. Also, employers and managers can consider reaching out to vendors or independent third parties to conduct audits or verify safety inspections.