In general, computer and electronics manufacturing enjoys relatively good working conditions, even for production workers. In contrast to those in many other manufacturing industries, production workers in this industry usually work in clean and relatively noise-free environments. Computer chips are manufactured in “clean rooms,” in which the air is filtered and workers wear special garments to prevent any dust from getting into the air. A speck of dust will ruin a computer chip.
In 2002, the rates of work-related injuries and illness per 100 full-time workers were 1.9 in computer and office equipment, 2.1 in communications equipment, 3.1 in electronic components and accessories, 5.5 in household audio and video equipment, and 1.5 in search and navigation equipment. These rates were, with one exception, lower than the 5.3 average for the private sector. However, some jobs in this industry may have risks. For example, some workers who fabricate integrated circuits and other components may be exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals, and working with small parts may cause eyestrain.
Most employees work regular 40-hour weeks, but pressure to develop new products ahead of competitors may result in some research and development personnel working extensive overtime to meet deadlines. The competitive nature of the industry makes for an exciting, but sometimes stressful, work environment-especially for those in technical and managerial occupations.