Hazardous Production Material

Last updated: March 9, 2019

What Does Hazardous Production Material Mean?

Hazardous production material (HPM) is a term used within the semiconductor and microelectronics manufacturing industry to refer to any material that has a degree-of-hazard rating of 3 or 4 (the highest ratings) according to the NFPA 704 standard.

HPMs may be rated as hazardous according to their flammability, instability, water reactivity, or health effects, and they refer to materials in solid, liquid, or gaseous form. Although the word “production” is used in the term, HPMs also refer to materials used as part of research and laboratory processes, not just production lines, as long as the end product of that work is the production of a non-hazardous material.

The central purposes of the HPM classification are to ensure the safe storage, communication, and handling of HPMs within a given work environment.

Safeopedia Explains Hazardous Production Material

The presence of HPMs within a given environment is considered in various building codes, such as the Uniform Fire Code (UFC) and the International Fire Code (IFC). Standards such as the UFC that address the storage of HPMs also prescribe the use of additional safety precautions like mandatory requirements for safe and unobstructed exit corridors. These requirements are in accord with NFPA 704, which provides a standardized system for communicating the hazard level associated with a given substance as a means of facilitating more effective emergency-response procedures.

When considered in context with building codes such as the UFC or IFC, HPMs are regulated according to the occupancy hazards that their presence imposes. Under the universal building code (UBC), semiconductor manufacturers are referred to as “H-6” occupancies (Group H, Division 6). All divisions within the Group H category describe different types of hazardous occupancy.

Under the UFC, limitations are placed on the amount of HPMs allowable within individual areas of a larger facility. Semiconductor fabrication rooms may not exceed a specific amount of HPM at any given time. This limit applies to the aggregated total of all HPMs in the space, adjusted for the particular level and type of hazard associated with each HPM.

The regulations and standards that concern HPMs are written to consider the quantity of the substance present. For instance, an occupancy would not receive an “H” designation unless the amount of hazardous material present exceeds a minimum threshold. This minimum amount is referred to as the “exemption limit.”


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