Projects and Priorities

Working Goal: Move towards zero exposure of workers to toxic chemicals in the electronics manufacturing process

Initial Scope

  • Chemical Focus: Chemicals used for bonding and/or cleaning functions across the consumer and enterprise electronics supply chain– and for electronics supplied to other industries, including wearables, automotive, internet of things, toys, medical

  • Hazard & Exposure Focus: Both reducing hazard and reducing exposure

  • Door-to-Door Focus: Includes chemicals workers are exposed to in the production of products and in usage, handling, circulation and disposal of chemicals in the facility


IG1: Worker Engagement & Empowerment

Goal: Workers are educated and sufficiently empowered to help protect themselves and others from toxic exposures

Importance: In mature management systems, workers play a critical role to signal and address health & safety issues, including chemical safety. Increasing worker empowerment and involvement should enable more effective adoption of other Network strategies – e.g. risk evaluation, safer substitutions, etc.

This working group addresses the need for a common industry approach to

  1. Measure the current status of worker empowerment and involvement

  2. Provide guidance how facilities can improve to more mature systems

Focus Areas: 

  • Worker Empowerment Framework: tool for multifaceted assessment of levels of worker involvement in and empowerment around chemical safety and exposure issues in a facility

  • Worker Voice: Interviewing and conducting focus groups with workers in electronics facilities to ascertain their interest, perspectives, needs around occupational exposures and empowerment


IG2: Track & Measure Exposure

Goal: We have a concrete and complete picture of what chemicals are being used and/or generated, what exposures are occurring, and what is the significance of those exposures

Importance: Exposure assessments and objective information on the extent of worker exposures to toxic chemicals are essential to really assess the success of Network efforts to reduce releases and exposures.

Focus Areas:

  • Advocacy for Enhanced Exposure Monitoring – promoting effective tools and evaluation programs (e.g. Qualitative Exposure Assessment) to better identify and prioritize risks

  • Monitoring Technologies – Identifying and compiling information on available and future suitable/applicable instruments for exposure monitoring Programs – Developing simplified approaches to exposure monitoring that can reduce the barriers to use


Qualitative Exposure Assessment

Goal:  Enabling facilities without IH/OHS expertise to identify worker exposure risks and prioritize efforts to eliminate them

Focus Areas:

  • Simplification of and advocacy for Qualitative Evaluation to identify exposure risks

  • Empowerment of facility management to address toxic exposure risks in a systematic way that addresses highest risk immediately and enables planning for sequential elimination of exposures


IG3: Safer Substitutions

Goal: Identified hazardous chemicals are substituted with “safer” alternatives or eliminated

Importance: Substitution and/or elimination of toxic chemicals is a critical factor in moving to zero exposure. Brands cannot do this alone—transparency, collective action, are required for transforming the industry.

Focus Areas:

  • Chemical Packets on key chemicals - including background chemical profiles, process mapping of usage, potential alternatives, and case studies of successful substitutions

  • Testing specific substitutions and documenting learning through case studies

  • Developing and testing a simplified Alternatives Assessment process for use by suppliers without extensive expertise

  • Process Mapping: Documenting reported uses of priority chemicals

  • Framework for prioritizing chemicals for exposure reduction/elimination


IG4: Standardized Template for Process Data Collection

Goal: The process of collecting data on process chemical use is clear, simple, efficient and standardized to reduce effort and increase understanding among suppliers and their customers

Importance: Data collection is the essential first step to identifying risks and opportunities to eliminate exposure

Focus Areas:

  • Develop a standard data collection tool for manufacturers and suppliers to more easily share data on chemicals used in production,

  • Use this standard tool to enable better identification of risks and hazards and foster dialogue between suppliers and brands about elimination, substitution and risk reduction

  • Use a standardized data collection methodology to help reduce survey fatigue and protect intellectual property

  • Advocate for the widespread adoption of the standardized data collection template, with the goal of reducing costs and increasing efficiencies for addressing process chemicals