July/August 2018 • www.cemag.us 15
targeted objective. To protect product and uptime,
cleaning needs to perfectly mesh with your SOPs,
safety protocols, and production schedule. These
five risks must all be diligently addressed:
• Unapproved cleaning solutions
• Improper cleaning technique
• Improper hygiene
• Introduction of foreign materials
• Improper gowning
While a service provider should have clear solu-
tions for controlling all these risk factors, proper
gowning technique cannot be stressed enough. As
semiconductor professionals know, gowning can
begin to feel repetitive, and any repetitive process
requires diligent attention to ensure compliance.
Industry experts in cleanroom custodial know they
need technicians to understand the cost of subverting this key process. A gowning sequence needs to
be exactly adhered to, every time.
While contamination control should always be a
primary focus, the simple fact is that environmental health and safety (EHS) concerns can cause an
immediate stop in production.
In semiconductor fabs, production work-
ers or cleaners may work near toxic substances.
Custodians must be trained in labels for chemicals
and signage used in and around the fab. There may
also be special procedures for item disposal, such as
color-coded bags for cleaning wipes that may have
been exposed to certain solvents. Technicians need
to understand all critical signage, such as emergen-cy-off (EMO) switches, lock out and tag out, arc
flash boundaries, and more.
High ceilings in many fabs require rules for
elevated spaces. When cleaning underfloor, issues
with confined spaces arise and protocols must be
observed for placing signs around the area. It’s not
as obvious as a construction worker’s exposure to
heat stroke, but custodians should know to drink
enough water to counteract their exposure to the
excessive aridity of cleanrooms.
Humans being what we are
Cleaners must comply with control regimens to
keep contaminants out. These rules are over and
above what a layman might expect of an employee.
Cleanroom cleaners must be properly vetted and
training must install a level of respect for regimens
that empower continual, self-regulated compliance.
For instance, cleanroom protocols may prohibit a
technician with sunburn from entering due to the
increased risk of flaking skin particles. That takes
a standard of care on the part of employees that’s
anything but standard.
No smoking is allowed, and neither is gum.
Hygiene procedures and specific clothing are
required. A service partner’s ability to provide a
pool of sufficiently vetted and trained labor that is
able to meet key behavioral expectations throughout evolving semiconductor production needs is
critical. In the event of a super-clean event, a fab
may require a service partner to provide three
times the workers required by any normal shift.
Wiping out costs
Meticulous work requires proper cleaning techniques, which can be very repetitive. A service
partner trains their employees to use the repetitive
nature of tasks to not only control contaminants
but to produce efficiency.
A cleanroom can spend literally millions on
wipes alone. Proper techniques can maximize the
use of wipe surface to help control those costs.
Efficient cleaning practices such as wiping patterns
can control particles while also reducing waste.
Documentation is more than a checkmark
On a basic level, compliance with standards
requires that tasks be documented. If cleaning isn’t
recorded, the cost of that cleaning is wasted — and,
worse, the cost of repeating that cleaning may
become a necessity to ensure standing operating
procedures are met.
The right custodial
partners provide services
as exceptional as the