Developing an ESD Control Program

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 2:18pm
Richard Bilodeau, PE

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) control is an ongoing challenge to facilities engineers working in the realm of controlled environments. While ESD may seem a modern day menace, the problem has literally plagued manufacturing for centuries. The consequences today of ineffective ESD management may include damaged or destroyed equipment or product (sometimes in the millions of dollars), a reduction in yield and product quality, even injured employees—all with potential to dramatically impact your company’s bottom line and reputation. And in today’s controlled environments, contaminants are attracted to charged surfaces, creating additional challenges.

Make sure your ESD control plan covers the full range of your operations. Clearly delineate responsibilities, procedures, and required reviews. Subdivide the plan into rational sections that can be intuitively and quickly navigated.

Training for ESD control is an ongoing loop that will continue to yield increasing returns. Enlist the services of your training department (usually a component of Human Resources) to design a program targeted to your objectives. Because ESD control is an issue across many parts of the organization, you may wish to prioritize departments based on the data you developed when you assessed the problems and the opportunities for improvement.

This cleanroom tip was taken from "Championing an ESD Control Program," which appeared in the October 2013 issue of Controlled Environments.



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