Article Abstract

The Implementation of Control Banding in the Semiconductor Industry
Marc C. Oberstar; University of Wisconsin-Stout

Control banding is an approach to risk assessment and risk management that groups occupational risk control strategies into bands based on their level of employee exposure. Risk assessment tool assess the probability of risks and their severity. The control strategies are grouped into four areas. These areas include 1) practicing good hygiene which takes into account personal protective equipment, 2) engineering controls, including exhaust ventilation, 3) containment, and 4) the using a specialist's advice. However, control banding is a process and not a single method or an individual toolkit. Control banding provides simplified solutions for controlling worker's exposure to hazards. In the mid 1900s to 1990s control banding was developed and utilized as an additional method to assess worker's health to those already available. It was promulgated for several reasons. First, the more traditional process of establishing occupational exposure limits (OEL's), used to compare measurements of airborne concentrations of contaminants, was becoming inadequate because of the increasing number of chemical hazards. Also, there were legal challenges to the standards developed and a lack of understanding about how these standards should be used. Furthermore, companies did not have the financial resources to conduct toxicological and epidemiological research to set OELs, nor to collect and analyze samples. Therefore, control banding became a useful risk assessment tool and it became recognized by international organizations. Currently, the most developed control banding model comes from the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (U.K. HSE) and is referred to as Control of Substance Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Essentials. Companies use these guidelines to do risk assessments for chemicals and mixtures of chemicals. Although there are thousands of chemicals, there are only a few levels of risk, or control bands, to control worker's exposures. Therefore, a simple risk assessment can be conducted based on the following: the type of task; hazard of the chemical assigned (Hazard Band A through E); the volatility of the chemical (3 levels); dustiness of the chemical (3 levels); and the amount used in a task (3 levels). Control banding is currently being used to assess hazards and provide the user with a matrix, which helps to determine the level of risk management, or control bands, based on the information provided (Oldershaw, 2006). A Control Guidance Sheet (CGS) for the task is then provided and a recommended control band is established. In early 2005 there were approximately 100 CGS which is up from the initial numbers of about 60.

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