Chip Companies Well-Prepared for COVID-19 Pandemic, SEMI EHS Working Group Survey Shows
A recent survey by a SEMI Environment, Health and Safety working group found that all responding companies had Business Continuity Plans (BCP) in place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, nearly half had already developed pandemic playbooks and, as a whole, have mounted robust, effective responses to the pandemic.
The Business Continuity Plans of the 19 respondents to the survey, designed to speed crisis response and mitigate business impacts, included countermeasures for any threat to company operations including IT, production, finance, public communications and, of course, health and safety.
Nine businesses, or 48 percent, had previously established plans for responding to epidemics and pandemics cited the World Health Organization (WHO) among the most reputable authorities for advice on how to prepare for a virus outbreak. Asian companies significantly outnumbered businesses in the U.S. or Europe in having a pandemic plan in place.
The SEMI working group launched the survey shortly after it was formed in early March to gather insights into how SEMI member companies are protecting their employees while adapting facilities and manufacturing schedules to sustain production. The working group, which has grown to include 20 members that convene weekly for virtual meetings, consists of companies spanning the global semiconductor supply chain.
The survey also found the following:
- As of late March, 95 percent of companies had implemented a mandatory work-from-home policy for job functions that could be performed remotely. One company reported that adherence to the policy was voluntary but strongly encouraged.
- At the time of the survey, 90 percent of companies had not considered using electronic tracking devices for employees at risk of cross-contamination. Taiwan has deployed the technology effectively to track confirmed COVID-19 cases and their travel histories.
- Nearly 75 percent of respondents conduct temperature screening for employees, 84 test visitors and contractors, and about 75 percent use no-touch infra-red thermometers as their preferred testing method.
- In instances where an employee, family member or close contact is ill but not a confirmed COVID-19 case, 42% of companies instruct the employee to stay home until he or she and family members are both symptom-free for at least 72 hours. For 30% of companies, the employee is invited to stay home for at least 14 days until the worker and family members are symptom-free.
- Fifty-eight percent of companies offer limited field service engineer (FSE) support to customers based on the circumstances. At 21% of companies, FSEs and equipment installers are working without restrictions if government and customer policies allow. Three companies suspended service activities.
- Sixty-three percent of respondents allow only critical visitors to enter their facilities after they’ve completed a health questionnaire and their temperature has been checked, while 21 percent prohibit visitors from entering their sites.
- More than half of the companies maintain production with social distancing protections in effect.
For more information about the survey or to join the EHS Working Group, please contact Olivier Corvez at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about best practices from SEMI member companies, visit our COVID-19 Resource page.
Olivier Corvez is senior manager of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability at SEMI.