HAACP, please, hold the scotch

Mark A. DeSorbo
Associate Editor
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While nearly all CleanRooms East 2002 conference sessions drew better-than-expected numbers, it was surprising that two presentations-one on flammability of cleanroom materials and another on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) program-did not draw standing-room-only crowds.

The fact that neither did indicates an indifference to quality control and quality assurance as well as safety, property damage and business interruption.

Robert Bill's “Flammability Evaluation of Cleanroom Materials,” may have been heavily weighted toward plastics and chemicals used in chip fabs, but he did say FM Global's research into additional materials that will hinder the spread of fire and smoke in other environments is far from over.

Consider these incidents noted in the report: An acid release cost an estimated $15 to $20 million in damages and another $15 million in business, while a wet bench fire cost $8 million in damages and other losses.

The whole premise of Bill's presentation is minimizing and even preventing disaster, which can result in the loss of business and even lives.

The same goes for another conference session, “HAACP: Beyond the Basics-A Scientific Approach to Compliance Monitoring” by consultant Robert W. Powitz, of RW Powitz & Associates.

The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system allows a food processor or medical device manufacturer to identify hazards and initiating causes and then apply appropriate procedures that aim to prevent, reduce or eliminate contamination to an acceptable level.

While many national and international agencies are required to implement HAACP programs, not doing so could result in “nonconforming products.” That means loss of money, customers and market shares, Powitz says.

“HAACP is nothing more than current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) for food,” he says. “There is no mystery behind this. This is common sense.”

Instead of interest in these conferences, however, CleanRooms staffers found themselves fielding questions like, “Why didn't we have the breakfast?” or “Why did I only get one entry ticket for the Jeep?” or “Why can't you get better scotch at your networking receptions?” or “Why can't we have CleanRooms East in someplace like Florida or Bermuda?”

Better scotch? Bermuda? The CleanRooms Group is forever open to suggestions and input, but surely CleanRooms shows mean more than that?

If not, perhaps it's time to do some priority-soul-searching, for the wisdom of experts and dialogues that unlock mysteries of future survival and success will certainly take you a lot farther in times of economic duress than plates of bacon and eggs, glasses of scotch and sunny beaches ever will.


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