Projects and Priorities
Working Goal: Move toward zero exposure of workers to toxic chemicals in the electronics manufacturing process
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
Measure the current status of worker empowerment and involvement
Provide guidance how facilities can improve to more mature systems
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.
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
Developing improved monitoring methodologies, including more effective processes and best practices for conducting Industrial Hygiene risk assessment (e.g. Qualitative – Quantitative Assessments)
Identifying and advancing opportunities for facility participation in testing of new exposure monitoring programs (e.g. NIOSH HHE, QEA)
Qualitative Exposure Assessment
Goal: Enabling facilities without IH/OHS expertise to identify worker exposure risks and prioritize efforts to eliminate them.
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.
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: Standardized data collection is the essential first step to identifying risks and opportunities to eliminate exposure
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