Question and Answer:
Q: We have just implemented
a static control program. How often should the facility be audited?
What other factors need to be considered in auditing our program?
A: The actual frequency of audits may vary according to the
particular facility and to its specific ESD problems. Following
an initial audit, some experts recommend auditing each department
monthly, if possible, or at least six times per year. If this
seems like a lot, remember that such regular audits will be
based upon a sampling of work areas in each department, and
will not necessarily involve every workstation.
Once a program has been initiated, the frequency of the audits
will depend on their results. If acceptable levels of conformance
and performance are routinely found, the auditing frequency
may be reduced; in contrast, evidence of continuing problems
may signal that more frequent audits are necessary.
The audit frequency may also need to be adjusted to reflect
the critical nature of functions performed in certain areas.
The ESD audits should further be consistent with any other
auditing that may be conducted for ISO 9000 purposes.
A key element of any ESD audit is the establishment of well-defined
and well-documented ESD control requirements, including the
methods used to evaluate materials and programs. This will
allow the measurement of performance to the defined standards
and procedures and provide the baseline data for the program.
Yet another important auditing consideration is the reporting
and feedback function. Results of the audits should be conveyed
to all levels of management, including upper management. Audit
reports should be compared with reports from previous audits,
and with failure analysis and yield reports.
Finally, an effective audit program will include recommendations
for taking any indicated corrective action.
For more details on other aspects of effective
ESD auditing, see Part 4 of the ESD Basics series, "Auditing
and Training," which appeared in the July/August 1998 issue
of Compliance Engineering. You may also wish to consult the
following items in the bibliography.
Dangelmayer, GT. "Auditing: The Essential Binding
Force." Presented at the EOS/ESD Symposium Tutorial, Lake Buena
Dangelmayer, GT. "ESD Program Management: A Realistic
Approach to Continuous Improvement in Static Control." NY, Chapman
and Hall, 1990.
ESD Association. ESD HandbookESD
ADV 2.0. Rome, NY: ESD Association, 1994.
Halperin, S. "Fundamentals of ESD Evaluation
and Auditing." Presented at the Midwest Regional ESD Tutorial,
Schaumburg, IL, 1998.
McFarland WY, and Brin RA. "You've Implemented
an ESD ProgramWhat's Next?" in proceedings of the EOS/ESD
Symposium, Rome, NY, ESD Association, 1993.
Smith DH, and Rier CD. "Internal Quality Auditing
and ESD Control," in proceedings of the EOS/ESD Symposium, Rome,
NY, ESD Association, 1986.
Zezulka, RJ. "Tracking Results of an ESD Control
Program within a Telecommunications Service Company," in proceedings
of the EOS/ESD Symposium, Rome, NY, ESD Association, 1989.
Founded in 1982, the ESD Association is
a not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to furthering
the technology and understanding of electrostatic discharge.
It sponsors educational programs, develops ESD standards,
holds an annual technical symposium, and fosters the exchange
of technical information among its members and others.
Additional information may be obtained
by contacting the ESD Association, 7900 Turin Rd., Bldg. 3,
Ste. 2, Rome, NY 13440; phone: 315/339-6937; fax: 315/339-6793;