3 Easy Steps to Improve Lighting – and Safety – in Your Workplace
Everyone has a right to work in a safe environment. Since people rely so heavily on their sense of sight, proper lighting and safety signage are foundations of workplace safety. With proper lighting, the risk of accidents, including falls, lessens. Health problems such as headaches and fatigue lessen as well. You can even improve someone’s mood with proper lighting.
In addition, OSHA requires a minimum illumination of 30 foot-candles in an office setting. In case you’re not familiar with the term (you’re not alone), a foot candle is “a unit of illuminance on a surface that is everywhere one foot from a uniform point source of light of one candle and equal to one lumen per square foot.” This means you’ll need 30 lumens per square foot in your office to be compliant with labor standards.
Here are some easy steps you can take to improve lighting in your workplace:
1. Evaluate Your Current Lighting
Your workplace is unique, and you must evaluate what is currently going on with your lighting in order to improve it. As you walk around your workplace, observe how your employees are doing and ask yourself these questions:
What are your sources of light: natural light from windows, overhead lights, desk lamps? Do you feel these sources of light are sufficient for your needs? If not, why not? Is there too much light or not enough? Also, consider what areas are too bright or too dark. Is there glare that needs to be reduced? Are there high-risk areas that need to be addressed?
Talk to your workers and ask them if they have had any issues with eyestrain or headaches. Ask them if they feel any areas are over-lit, since too much light can cause emotional or physical strain.
Too much sunlight can damage your eyes, and staring at a bright computer screen can do the same. In fact, “The American Optometric Association notes that Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) causes more than 10 million visits to the eye doctor annually.”
As you evaluate your current lighting, remember that a combination of ambient lighting and task lighting is often ideal.
2. Install LED Lighting to Save Money
Consider making an investment in LED lighting. Despite the initial investment, LED will save you money in the long run by using “50 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen options.” Because LED lighting is made from non-toxic materials and mimics natural light, LED lighting is safer for everyone’s health and will increase productivity. While it isn’t as good as natural light, it is the best option for the environment, your workers, and your wallet.
And don’t forget outdoor lighting. It gets dark around 4:30pm in the winter in many places. Your parking lot should be properly lit to give your workers a safe path to their cars. If they take public transportation, give them a lighted pathway to the nearest bus stop.
New Jersey LED wholesalers ZLED sell solar LED fixtures that charge during the day and light up at night. You’ll also save on electricity costs by powering them with solar energy. Their Solar Street Light product is perfect for “street lights, sidewalks, roadways, fencing and pathways.”
3. Increase Natural Light
Ask yourself if there is any way to increase the amount of natural light in your workplace. Natural light and computer screens both create the same kind of light: blue light. The goal should be to balance natural light with artificial light in a way that reduces eyestrain, and improving your workplace might be as easy as rearranging your workstations or installing glass on doors to allow more natural light or artificial light. This will depend on where you are in the office as well. If your office has no windows, you’ll need more artificial light to make up for your lack of natural light. If you sit by a window, you might want to shut off your desk lamp.
The last thing you need in your office is seasonal depression, and about 6% of the population suffers from it. Adding more natural light during the day can help fight seasonal depression and keep everyone happy and productive.
Now that you see how easy it is to improve the lighting in your workplace, you can begin to provide better working conditions today. Your employees will thank you and so will your bottom line.
What steps are you going to take to improve lighting in the workplace? Take a look at your current lights and let us know!
About the Author:
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.
Eye Hazards You Can’t See
Not all workplace eye irritants can be addressed with personal protective equipment like goggles or safety glasses. Too much sunlight can damage your eyes, and staring at a bright computer screen can do the same. In fact, The American Optometric Association notes that Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) causes more than 10 million visits to the eye doctor annually.
This OSHA danger sign is primarily intended for atmospheres or particles that irritate the eyes, but it’s important to know that you can’t always see the things that make it difficult to see.