Shame on you

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Some people just don't care. Perhaps, you know them: the employees or co-workers in your cleanroom who wave off procedures that are put in place to inhibit the destructive contamination of which they are the source.

You might have even witnessed the blatant disregard, like a person who opts for the larger garment because it's more comfortable yet useless because it's not effective in containing particles. Or how about women who don make-up, all the while knowing they shouldn't. And then there's the person, plagued with allergies or sick with a cold, who gowns up, enters a controlled environment and sneezes away through a facemask.

There are even stories about visiting vendors who walk into cleanrooms without a stitch of a bunny suit, as if their skin doesn't particulate.

What's even more unbelievable is it was only in the last couple of years that the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST; Mount Prospect, IL) took the bull by the horns and penned a recommended practice, thanks to the IEST working group, “Personnel Practices and Procedures in Cleanrooms and Controlled Environments,” chaired by Gary W. Knoth.

According to the tutorial “Personnel in Cleanrooms,” prepared by Knoth and presented by IEST's president-elect Bob Spector at ESTECH 2000, held

in early May in Providence, RI, “Management must discipline people, and it's odd that it has never been perceived as important by the end-user,” says Spector. “You could screw something up quickly if you don't establish a good baseline for people to follow.”

I find Spector's statements shocking. Think about the impact that laissez faire indifference has on the end product. What would your customers say if they saw such violations? “People will do things and respond better to instruction when they understand why and what the advantages are,” Spector says.

For the apparent few who take contamination control seriously, you will only reap the benefits of higher quality products. For the rest, who could seemingly care less, shame on you.

Mark A. DeSorbo Associate Editor


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