Beyond the Classroom: Cleanroom Training

Beyond the Classroom: Cleanroom Training

You don`t have to send your personnel to a classroom to train them to work in a clean-room or controlled environment. There are other options.

By Lisa A. Karter

For new employees who have never set foot in a cleanroom, learning how to work in this environment requires training. Sometimes the training is one-on-one, sometimes via video, manuals, computer software, tutorials at technical conferences, or in-house orientations, but the latest trend is toward a combination curriculum using both video and instructors in-house.

Although videotapes are popular, they are not a substitute for a training program that includes instructors, demonstrations and the chance for trainees to ask questions, says David Shares, owner of Cleanroom Education (Rochester, NY). “Training is a total package. It really needs a combination of people, video, etc. One answer doesn`t do it all,” cautions Shares.

Shares advises that training is also a function of the trainer`s attitude. “When a trainer expects people to learn and knows they are capable of learning, they will. Trainees reflect the trainer`s attitude. Students perform to the expectation of the teacher.” Often, training by video doesn`t allow trainees to ask questions, therefore, on-site instructors can be very useful to a contamination control training program.

Learning by video

Video has become a popular training tool because it can be repeated whenever personnel need a refresher course, its portable and easy to use. Micron Video International (MVI; Greensboro, NC) has several video-based products for cleanroom and contamination control training. “Our approach to training is based on the reality and memorability of documentary video, reinforced by the written word,” says MVI President Dick Matthews. MVI offers video tutorials, training modules, video dictionaries, and other training materials. The company`s VideoTutorials cover subjects such as “Personnel in Cleanrooms,” or “The GMP of Sterile Production.” Each video contains modules and video dictionaries on specific aspects of the tutorial. Usually, a training “module” is appropriate to the level of training and education required–whether its management, supervisory or operational staff.

MVI classifies its tutorials by series: Good Cleanroom & Contamination Control Practices; Good Manufacturing Practices; Good Management, Training & Quality Practices; Good Laboratory Practices & Procedures; and Good Food & Drinks Handling Practices. Recently, it introduced new videos focusing on other contamination control topics such as cleanroom clothing, preparing to clean the cleanroom and cleanrooms and associated controlled environments. MVI is currently working on a “train the trainer” video for release later this year.

Other companies also offer instructional video tapes. Liberty Industries (East Berlin, CT) offers video and on-site training covering topics such as: cleanroom design, air filtration, room characterization, contamination, garments, conduct by personnel in a cleanroom, items allowed in a cleanroom, and techniques and products for cleaning.

Cleanroom Education (Rochester, NY) offers two general video tape programs, “The Whats & Whys of Cleanrooms” and “Cleaning of and within a Cleanroom,” provide basic knowledge for working in a cleanroom environment. In addition, Cleanroom Education has a variety of video programs produced for a particular facility. These present a facility`s specific message, using scenes from that facility and the actual people working there. Cleanroom Education will aid in the creation of a script, shoot the necessary footage and then produce the program to the customer`s specifications. The company also provides on-site training sessions. Programs are customized to the facility and the audience being trained. Train-the-trainer sessions and follow-up training is also available.

By book…

Text books, manuals, primers, and other guides are also useful tools for training. The traditional text book is often used in a training class or in a contamination control curriculum. One publisher offering a number of contamination control-related textbooks is John Wiley & Sons Ltd. (New York, NY). Shorter guides and manuals are available from several companies. For example, Cleansweep is cleanroom compendium recently published by RKI/ Cleanroom Services (Rochester, NY). It is a 114-page cleanroom users guide designed for cleanroom contractors, managers, operators, and custodial personnel. The guide discusses a build-clean program for cleanroom contractors, and how to use the cleanroom properly. Says Ralph Kraft, president of RKI: “It saves the cleanroom end-user from reinventing the wheel on such topics as proper gowning procedures for the various cleanroom classes, how to gown and de-gown properly, cleaning the cleanroom and other topics,” says Kraft.

Also offering a libary of cleanroom references is Liberty Industries. Available are a Cleanroom Primer, Maintenance Primer, Air Shower Primer, Your Guiode to a Cleanroom Facility, How to Save Thousands on Your Cleanroom and the Cleanroom Encyclopedia. The Cleanroom Primer is designed as an introduction for new employees who will have cleanroom responsibilities; the maintenance primer is a program for keeping the cleanroom clean. The air shower primer offers a history of air showers, how they work and their proper use.

Other services

Training programs are available on CD-ROM. Interactive Media Communications (IMC; Waltham, MA) has a CD-ROM version of its “Electrostatic Discharge Control Training Program,” an interactive multimedia CD-ROM course that is designed with EOS/ESD Association standards and ISO 9000 requirements. The training CD covers manufacturing and service environments including cleanrooms. IMC provides training in health, safety and environmental areas. n

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A scene from “Preparing to Clean the Cleanroom,” a video training module from Micron Video International, which produces a series of cleanroom training videos.

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Manuals are a popular training resource because they are portable and can be referred to easily by employees. Liberty Industries` Primer series helps new employees learn about their cleanroom responsibilities.


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