"Of course" staff are provided with PPE?
The semiconductor industry has been around a long time, operated in different countries and to different standards in different workplaces.
Talking about PPE assumes that PPE protects effectively against the hazard, and at the moment nobody is claiming to understand what the hazard is/was. As an unconnected example, I remember being told to use an extractor because or rosin fumes from soldering, then finding out that the filter was for particles many times larger than the rosin particles.
I think the other problem is that companies and workers tend to base their protective measures on data sheets and regulations. The problem is that industries such as semiconductor manufacturing have changed their substances and processes faster than reliable data or regulation can keep up.
UNITE is right to call for research so that action can be based on evidence rather than guesswork. To those who think a report would just become wallpaper, that might be the wish of those in the industry who are currently resisting writing it, but would workers in the industry and their unions ignore it? I don't think so.