The days are getting shorter–Make sure your workplace has proper lighting

As daylight savings time ends at 2 a.m. this coming Sunday morning (November 2), most Americans will relish the gift of one extra hour of sleep. At the same time, more cars on the road during dark evenings means an increase in traffic accidents. Less daylight after working hours means less outdoor activity for many. With the increase of darkness during working hours, poor lighting in the workplace can affect safety. From BLR, here’s how to insure your workplace is properly lighted.

Daylight Savings decreases workplace lighting

Daylight Savings Time is here again. Poor lighting in a work area can affect safety, and quality of work; cause can cause eyestrain, eye discomfort. and burning; and give some workers the winter doldrums, also known as seasonal affective disorder, which can lower productivity. Here’s how to insure your workplace is properly lighted.

One fairly simple way to measure light is to look for shadows, especially over work areas and on stairways. Ask employees if they have experienced eyestrain or if they have to squint in order to see. If that’s the case, try these tactics:
  • Replace bulbs on a regular schedule, as old bulbs give less light than newer ones.
  • Clean light fixtures regularly. Dirt on light fixtures reduces the amount of light produced. Fixtures with open tops allow air currents to move up through the fixtures, so dust and dirt do not accumulate.
  • Add additional light fixtures.
  • Paint walls and ceilings with lighter colors so that the light can be reflected.
  • Use more reflected light and task lighting to eliminate shadows.
  • Do not position a light fixture directly behind the worker.

Glare occurs when a bright light source or reflection interferes with how someone sees an object. Typically, the eyes will adapt to the brightest level of light. But when this happens, it is harder to see the detail in duller or darker areas. Glare can be direct, such as from sunlight, or reflected, such as from a monitor or reflection from shiny surfaces.

Try these methods to correct glare problems.

  • Use small, low-intensity fixtures rather than one large, high-intensity fixture.
  • Use fixtures that diffuse or concentrate light well.
  • Cover bare bulbs with lenses, louvers, or other devices.
  • Use adjustable task lighting with brightness controls.
  • Make sure light fixtures are not in front of a worker or directly overhead.
  • Remove highly polished or shiny objects.
  • Position light fixtures to reduce reflected light directed toward the eyes.

Another common lighting concern is contrast. Make sure the immediate work area is brighter than surrounding areas. And make sure there is adequate color contrast, for example, between moving and stationary machine parts so that workers can easily distinguish them.

If you’re completely in the dark about lighting, you may need to hire a professional to conduct a complete lighting survey. Also, with the days getting shorter, check that your parking lot is properly lit, as well as all indoor spaces.


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