Whether you run a commercial building, industrial complex, or any kind of workplace environment, you need to have proper lighting. Maintaining a suitable lighting system for your workers involves many factors. Some of these factors are ensuring the lights are spaced out, installing switches in safe and easy-to-access areas, and using proper bulbs to maintain a balance of color and brightness. Induction Lighting Fixtures’s complete guide to workplace lighting standards will help you make the right moves and remain compliant with workplace safety standards.
OSHA Lighting Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exists to ensure that workers in every field receive appropriate working conditions, any necessary safety equipment, and proper training. A large part of OSHA’s purpose is to ensure that everyone on-site has a safe work environment, and that includes the lighting.
OSHA uses a form of measurement called foot candles, which requires that there is at least one lumen of light per square foot of space. Different types of spaces may require an additional amount of minimum foot candles to meet OSHA regulations. For example, spaces such as tunnels and hallways have a minimum of five foot candles. However, more open areas, such as offices that people spend more time in, may require a minimum of 30 foot candles.
No matter what type of area you have, it’s a good idea to check the minimum foot candle requirements to ensure every room in your building is up to code. Even bathrooms and storage closets have these minimum requirements.
Most Common Types of Lighting
When looking at the complete guide to workplace lighting standards, you should understand the different types of lighting that you can install in your business. Traditionally, there are three main types of lighting options to take into consideration.
General lighting is one of the most important when you’re adhering to OSHA guidelines. These are the lighting fixtures that create foot candles and provide normal illumination for workers, customers, and anyone else who may be in your building. Maintaining consistent general lighting prevents constant ocular readjustment, so it should be kept in working order whenever people are in the building.
Task lighting is a much more directed and concentrated form of lighting that you may need to supply for people depending on their job. One common example of task lighting is a lamp on each employee’s desk in an office. Ultimately, task lighting exists to make it easier for employees to perform a particular task without eye strain.
Emergency lighting is what powers on in the event of a power outage or other emergency. These lights typically illuminate exits and different escape routes to help keep people safe and allow for a speedy and efficient evacuation.
Rules for Locations and Installation
Aside from adhering to a specific foot candle level, OSHA has some specific rules and standards for installing lights in workplace environments that you will want to be aware of.
For example, OSHA requires all lights to come with some form of cover or guard to protect employees. These covers exist to keep employees from interfering with the lights. Therefore, the coverings should be firmly mounted with no gaps large enough for an adult to reach more than a finger inside. In addition to preventing employees from tampering with the lights, these guards serve as a vital safety feature. This is because they stop shards and other potential debris from getting past the covering in the event of some sort of accident or lighting malfunction.
Furthermore, while many lights are ceiling- or wall-mounted fixtures, OSHA standards require all businesses to carefully consider where they place power outlets and light switches. Most standards state that any worker or employee should not be in any danger of getting injured by equipment when changing, maintaining, or activating light bulbs.
Frequent Workplace Lighting Problems
To help you maintain your lights in the workplace, you should know some of the most common lighting problems and how they can affect your space and your employees.
One of the most common issues is improper lighting. If there is not enough light for your workers to complete their tasks safely, it can create liability issues.
Also, lighting set at different levels of brightness throughout the building may cause a safety issue if workers enter a workplace and their eyes need to constantly readjust. Try to maintain even lighting levels, especially in areas with heavy equipment that may be dangerous with imbalanced lighting.
Finally, flickering lights are a major problem for workers, since they can often be distracting at best and harmful at worst. Flickering lights may lead to drops in productivity and employee headaches. If you notice flickering light sources in your building, figure out the source of the problem and make the necessary repairs as soon as possible.
Advantages of Compliance
OSHA standards don’t exist solely to give us a bunch of rules to follow for no reason. These standards and practices exist to create and foster a safe working environment for everybody. Keeping well-maintained lighting in your workplace helps boost employee productivity and morale. Plus, reducing eye strain and headaches minimizes the number of sick days your employees take and lowers the overall risk of accidents or injuries.
What Happens if You Don’t Comply?
Failing to comply with OSHA’s lighting rules and regulations negatively affects employers and business owners. Not only are you putting the health and safety of your workers at risk, but you are also opening yourself up to potential fines and criminal charges. A serious violation may result in a fine of nearly $14,000, while repeated violations may be over $100,000, accompanied by criminal charges. Owners may also be required to pay for legal fees, workers’ compensation, and other expenses due to violations, so it’s recommended that you keep things up to code.
Induction Lighting Fixtures has everything you need to learn about and comply with industrial lighting systems. We have a wide range of different bulbs and fixtures that work for any interior or exterior commercial property. If you’d like to get additional information on lighting systems, our helpful blog is here for you any time of day. You can also contact us with individual questions, and a member of our staff will be happy to assist you.