the systems view blog

Applying our perspective to industry topics and trends

December 27, 2022

How Proper Equipment Ensures Gas Delivery Safety & Mitigates Gas Exposure

Working with gases can be dangerous. Gas leaks or gas contamination are serious events that can result in fire, explosions, physical harm, or even death. All of these outcomes jeopardize the safety of employees on site and risk damaging or destroying valuable equipment and property. Further, issues with gas can make an organization vulnerable to liabilities and regulatory fines.

Unfortunately, issues arise every year when working with these hazardous chemicals. For example, in 2017, 41 U.S. workers died on the job after a single episode of inhaling chemicals and chemical products.

Accidental gas releases can happen due to an operator trying to disconnect the wrong cylinder, or attempting to disconnect the cylinder before it has been properly purged. But with the right equipment in place, these mistakes can be mitigated, thus protecting operators and maintaining safety. This blog post explores how the right equipment can make or break safety standards.

Gas Safety Standards in Semiconductor Manufacturing

One sector that must focus on safety in its handling of gases is semiconductor manufacturing. Semiconductor fabs use various gases for their production processes, so it’s imperative that worker safety is ensured throughout daily operations. It’s critical to remain vigilant, no matter what step in the semiconductor supply chain.

OSHA recommends the following safety precautions for working with gases in semiconductor manufacturing:

  • Identify exhaust gas hazards and perform appropriate exposure evaluations.
    -Identify and evaluate all potential exposure scenarios (e.g. startup, operations, maintenance, cleaning, emergencies).
    -Review OSHA tables that contain permissible exposure limits for various substances.
  • Provide appropriate ventilation to reduce gas concentration levels in the air.
  • Provide PPE as appropriate to prevent contact with exhaust gases.
  • Use respiratory protection when necessary to further reduce exposure and protect employees.

Choosing the right equipment for your fab is also critical to preventing hazardous gas exposure. The right tools will not only prevent dangerous incidents, but also improve operations and efficiency.

Ensuring Operator Safety with the Right Equipment

The fab is only as safe as its equipment, and having the right tools in place is critical for maintaining safe, reliable, and efficient processes. A cylinder connection cover is one essential piece of equipment that can prevent accidental gas releases. It’s important, however, to choose the ideal version that is durable and proven to work in complex and dangerous environments. AES’ SEMI-GAS® Systems offers a controller-activated cylinder connection cover that enhances safety and ensures the safe operation of gas cabinets.

The Auto-Guard™ Cylinder Connection Cover protects gas technicians from exposure to hazardous production materials as well as the integrity of process gas and related equipment by controlling access to active gas cylinder connections. The cover enhances specialty gas operations by preventing accidental disconnection of a hazardous gas cylinder from a gas source manifold.

An extended shroud on the guard clearly indicates if it is unsafe to attempt to disconnect a cylinder, preventing access to the CGA or DISS nut. A retracted shroud on the guard indicates that the system is in a safe state and allows the operator access for disconnection. The cover remains in this retracted position until a cylinder change and/or leak test has been successfully completed.

The Auto-Guard™ cover effectively mitigates hazardous gas releases through its reliable and durable construction. It has no springs or mechanical components and is constructed of 302-series stainless steel, anodized 6061-T6 aluminum and corrosion-resistant Viton™ O-Rings. Its durability has been thoroughly proven through extensive environmental and cycle tests for over 20 years. There are 100,000’s of hours of operation without one issue.

The cover is recommended for use with all hazardous production materials and access-restricted gases. It’s a standard, low cost, option for use with all SEMI-GAS® Centurion™ Gas Cabinets, which are designed for the safe housing of hazardous gases. Used by semiconductor leaders for decades, these gas cabinets are renowned for their quality, reliability, performance, and superior safety.

Choosing a Proven Partner for All Your Ultra High Purity Applications

The right tools and equipment are essential, but having the right partner can help an organization take their operations to the next level. With full-service gas delivery solutions spanning design and manufacturing, testing, installation, and expert field services, SEMI-GAS® can help you ensure that your UHP gas is empowered to perform. For 35 years, SEMI-GAS® has been the semiconductor industry’s go-to source for production-ready gas delivery and handling systems and equipment, and today, Tier 1 leaders worldwide call SEMI-GAS® their partner of choice.

Read the info sheet to learn more.



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