New Safety Guideline for Use of Energetic Materials

New Safety Guideline for Use of Energetic Materials in Semiconductor R&D and Manufacturing Processes APPROVED

By Kevin Nguyen, SEMI HQ


Many processes used in manufacturing semiconductor require extremely reactive chemistry. Some process chemicals used are hazardously exothermic, pyrophoric or water reactive. While control procedures are in place to minimize the risks of such materials, new and emerging materials, some with unknown properties, have been introduced into manufacturing, causing potential risks for fire or explosion, which could release toxic chemicals to the environment.

From the period of 2011 – 2014, over 70 incidents were reported related to the use of new energetic compounds, causing loss of life, significant facility damage and production business interruption. This spurred several leading semiconductor device manufacturers, including GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Intel, Samsung, SK Hynix, TI, and TSMC,  to determine the need for a comprehensive international best-known methods safety guideline for safe use, handling, processing and disposal of reactive hazardous materials which have or may exhibit energetic properties.  This led to the formation of the  Energetic Materials EHS Task Force to mobilize the standardization effort for SEMI Document 5761, Safety Guideline for Use of Energetic Materials in Semiconductor R&D and Manufacturing Processes.

The goal is to derive the best industry practices and safety guidelines for handling energetic materials from the participation of chemical suppliers, equipment manufacturers, consultant, third party evaluator, and those involved in the semiconductor field.

The ballot was initially issued in 2015 but failed technical review due to significant disagreement among equipment suppliers and users. Document 5761 was sent back to the task force for further editing.

The following year, Document 5761A was reballoted, but failed technical review again due to lack of consensus. Eric Sklar (Safety Guru) agreed to take up the activity as new Task Force leader and carried on. The document went through additional revisions in 2017 and 2018, getting closer to industry consensus, but ultimately failing each time it was reballoted.

In April 2019, on the sixth try, Document 5761E was successfully approved by the EH&S North America Technical Committee Chapter and is currently being processed for publication. This document is anticipated to be published as SEMI S30-0619 and will be available for download from the Safety Guidelines Volume.

Figure 1: Determination of Energetic Materials


By using SEMI S30, chemical suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and semiconductor manufacturers will be able to follow stringent safety protocols on handling energetic materials and communicate among the supply chain effectively. The risk for potential hazards will be significantly reduced.

Chemical suppliers will be able to provide characteristic of its materials to an end user. Upon shipment, suppliers will list whether a material is flammable, water reactive, or exothermic. Users will have safety methodologies dealing with vapor or liquid chemicals, and personnel will have instructions (e.g., wear proper personal protective equipment) when working with energetic materials.

Equipment suppliers will have access to information on providing enclosures for energetic materials containers integrated with process equipment.

By leveraging this standard, third party evaluators will be able to perform risk assessments to ensure the energetic materials can be used safely within a facility. Semiconductor manufacturers will be able validate the safe installation of R&D and pilot lines and high-volume manufacturing equipment to ensure applicable EHS regulations and best industry practices are satisfied prior to equipment start-up.

Whether you are a chemical supplier, device manufacturer, equipment supplier or third party evaluator, this long awaited standard will provide benefits across the semiconductor supply chain.

The Energetic Materials TF has reached a major milestone. The next course of action will be revising and harmonizing other SEMI "S" safety guidelines (e.g., S2, S18) with SEMI S30. If you would like to participate in the Energetic Materials Task Force or have any questions, please contact Kevin Nguyen (


Get Involved

SEMI Standards development activities take place throughout the year in all major manufacturing regions. To get involved, join the SEMI International Standards Program at:

For more information please visit our main Web site and current events page. If you have any questions regarding SEMI EHS Standards activities, please contact your local SEMI Standards staff.


Standards Watch
June 13, 2019