EHS Training and Education Initiative Launched for the Photovoltaic (PV) Industry
Leveraging Knowledge Gained from Semiconductor Manufacturing
The PV industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past five years, placing enormous pressures on Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) needs and practices in the industry. Operating in dozens of countries, hundreds of new production facilities have recently come on line and thousands of new workers are working with complex and potentially dangerous production processes. Unlike semiconductor fabs, which have experienced EHS staffs and robust EHS hazard controls in place, many PV facilities are currently in a learning mode.
According to Bruce Klafter, senior director, EHS, and head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Applied Materials, “One of the challenges to ensuring that effective hazard controls are in place at PV manufacturing facilities, wherever they may be located, is that the PV industry has not yet developed an effective means for sharing knowledge on an industry-wide scale”.
Many of the process hazards in PV manufacturing are similar to those encountered— and already solved— by the semiconductor industry as the result of decades of cooperative effort and information sharing. “There is a critical need to transfer the lessons learned and hazard controls developed by the semiconductor industry to the PV industry. This can occur in the form of education and training at EHS workshops, and through the application of safety guidelines and facility standards,” said Klafter.
Bruce Klafter of Applied Materials
In response to the need for global EHS education and information exchange within the PV industry, SEMI will conduct PV EHS workshops at upcoming 2008 and 2009 SEMICON and SOLARCON events in Asia, Europe and the U.S. These workshops will be a first step towards satisfying the need for developing experienced EHS professionals and fostering development of proven EHS procedures within the PV industry as an essential part of every company’s business strategy.
The initial workshop occurred on September 10, 2008, as PV industry EHS representatives from throughout Asia met at PV Power Taiwan to discuss the growing challenges in (EHS). The half-day EHS workshop addressed a number of topics, including environmental protection, silane safety, worker safety and health, process tool installation, process tool maintenance, specialty gas and chemical delivery systems, building engineering, facilities, risk management, and insurance.