Semiconductor manufacturing processes use a number of chemicals that may present health, safety and environmental hazards. ST therefore considers chemical management a key issue. We have focused our efforts in this area on anticipating legislation, reducing usage and substituting chemicals to ensure employees’ health and safety and the environment are adequately protected.
Giulia Mancini, Chemicals and Industrial Hygiene programs manager
"ST has always sought to replace hazardous chemicals in our manufacturing processes, and we are proud of the progress we have made so far."
ST’s adopts ISO 140011 and OHSAS 180012 standards throughout its manufacturing activities and supply chain in order to guarantee compliance with applicable regulations on chemicals use and product chemical content.
- Precautionary principle
Selecting and screening new chemicals is one of our Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Decalogue commitments. New chemicals are screened and evaluated using the following criteria: strict engineering control measures; risk mitigation; collective protective measures; personal protective equipment; administrative procedures. The site chemical committee approves all chemicals before they can be used.
- Suppliers’ compliance
ST requires all suppliers and subcontractors to comply with ST’s hazardous substances requirements in addition to applicable legal requirements. ST’s EHS Regulated Substances list is compiled using several standards, regulations (REACH3 , RoHS4 ) and customer requirements. It is updated on an annual basis. We perform detailed checks on all our suppliers and request compliance evidence in the form of certificates of analysis, material safety data sheets and due diligence surveys.
- Manufacturing: hazardous substance management
In addition to new chemical evaluations, we also conduct regular internal audits and risk assessments to ensure that the storage, distribution and use of chemicals and the waste treatment of spent chemicals are properly managed, in line with risk prevention procedures.
We have been working closely with our suppliers for over 20 years to implement closed chemical delivery systems on site, in order to reduce employee and environmental exposure. Each manufacturing site has an emergency response team that is trained and certified to use firefighting equipment, breathing apparatus and personal protective equipment.
- Meeting customer requirements
ST’s Materials Declaration Process is in place to externally report on the chemical composition of all our products, and to trace levels of banned, exempted or declarable substances, according to the IPC 17525 standard and applicable customer and regulatory requirements like RoHS and REACH.
- Reducing usage of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs)
We constantly endeavor to minimize the use of chemicals, where possible researching safer substitutes for the most hazardous ones. These considerations are taken into account as early as possible in our development and purchasing processes, for example during manufacturing process set up.
ST is continuously looking for ways to optimize manufacturing processes and modify hardware to reduce chemicals exposure and usage.
- Chemicals end-of-life management
- Product: hazardous substances management
ST is currently strengthening its management of product hazardous substances. This aims to align with the IECQ6 QC 080000 Hazardous Substances Process Management System Requirements (HSPM) throughout the design, development, engineering, purchase, production, storage and dispatch of products.
Infrastrucure to facilate chemicals recycling has been embedded in the design of our more recently built sites. Where feasible, separate collection or waste water treatment facilities are available, either at dedicated on-site or external plants, to safely process substances released by the factory before final discharge. ST has invested in abatement systems in Front-end sites which are ST’s largest chemicals consumers. These systems use incinerators and scrubbers to treat air exhaust gases. We have been involved in voluntary industry programs to reduce fluorinated gas emissions, achieving outstanding results. (See Voluntary Agreement final report)
Our objectives and performance are available in our latest Sustainability report.
1 ISO 14001 = Environmental Management Systems Requirements
2 OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems Requirements
3 REACH = Registration Evaluation and Restriction of Chemicals
4 RoHS = Restriction of Hazardous Substances
5 IPC = Association Connecting Electronics Industries®
6 IECQ = International Electrotechnical Commission Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components