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Considering the potential hazards in the semiconductor fabrication process, the industry has a good, but not perfect, safety record. Semiconductor fabs are required to follow national and local safety regulations, and in addition, the primary trade organization, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), has developed various guidelines for safety, including the S2 Environmental, Health, and Safety Guideline for Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment. The most recent edition of this Safety Guideline is S2-0709 which contains all changes approved since July 2006. The next milestone release of S2 is intended for July 2012.

According to SEMI, S2-0709 contains new criteria addressing mechanisms for hinged loads and a supplementary section addressing remote operation of equipment. In addition, this release contains updated criteria for lifting equipment, exhaust ventilation, tracer gas, and emergency off. The criteria on exhaust ventilation and tracer gas provide better alignment between SEMI S2 and SEMI S6, EHS Guideline for Exhaust Ventilation of Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment. The criterion on emergency off improves alignment between SEMI S2 and SEMI S22, Safety Guideline for the Electrical Design of Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment. SEMI S22 is also referred to for a recently developed method of determining the short circuit current rating for an equipment supply circuit.

Because no regulation or guideline can cover every possible safety hazard or combination of hazards, it is useful to have reviews made by people who are experienced and knowledgeable of the specific industry hazards and combinations of hazards being considered. Editions of S2 have been published since the 1990s. Often, equipment is purchased with a contractual requirement to be in compliance with the S2 edition in effect at the time of order (or other specific safety regulations). This requirement is beneficial because it requires the equipment supplier to know its respective hazards and inform the purchaser of such hazards.

Glew Engineering Consulting has successfully helped clients with financial recovery when disaster struck in fabs. Our team of highly qualified mechanical engineers and electrical engineers and scientists has provided expert testimony regarding fab and semiconductor equipment safety.