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Commercial Guide to Workplace Lighting Standards

How does it feel working in dim spaces? Too bright lights can also discomfort your eyes and affect your health.

How well is your workplace lit? How bright are the bulbs and what light fixtures do you use? The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set lighting standards to guide you.

Setting an ideal office lighting environment for your employees is a valuable asset to increased productivity. Lighting shapes the work environment. It determines the mood and employees’ comfort. With this in mind, you might wonder which lighting standards are ideal for your workspace?

Keep reading this workplace lighting standards guide to improving your work environment.

Workplace Lighting Regulations According to OSHA

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes a comprehensive set of standards. They ensure safe working conditions for employees across all industries. Established in 1971, the agency has published hundreds of safety standards and guidelines.

The OSHA regulations on workplace lighting are based on a standard known as the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout). In addition to lockout/Tagout programs, employers must follow specific practices when lighting the workplace.

OSHA relies on Section 5193 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to provide guidelines for employers to maintain a good work environment. This section of the act requires that all office buildings maintain minimum light levels. This is to decrease glare and provide a safe place for employees.

However, this act does not specify any minimum levels of illumination. It instead requires employers to evaluate their lighting system to meet the needs of the employees.

Sufficient lighting depends on the nature of the job and the equipment used. Enough light must be available for employees to perform their tasks safely and efficiently.

Illuminance is measured in foot candles and should be at least ten-foot candles on the floor. Alternatively, it can be 20% of the maximum average illuminance on the working surface.

Workplace Lighting Standards

Many companies skimp on office lighting and energy-efficient light bulbs. They’re missing out on the benefits of great lighting. Not only will it make employees happier and more productive, but it will also save energy bills.

The key is to get the right quality of light. What should you look for in a light bulb?

  • Use a high-quality full-spectrum light bulb
  • LED lights that last about 25 times longer than fluorescent bulbs
  • They should be Energy Star rated
  • The color temperature to be around 5000K

5000 K is the color temperature of natural daylight. It’s not too blue and it’s not too yellow. You can get all these features in a fluorescent light bulb, but they won’t last as long as LED lights. Here are several workplace lighting standards explained.

The first of such standards is the average illuminance (lux) requirement. It is recommended that the average illuminance should be at least 250 lux. This is under a beam of 5 by 7-foot fluorescent lightbox at the height of about 6 feet from the floor.

Such illuminance allows enough light for workers to see without straining their eyes.

The second of such standards is the recommended illuminance (lux) for specific tasks. For example, the minimum illuminance for cooking in a kitchen should be at least 1000 lux. For food preparation, it should be 500 lux.

Work Lighting Standards Tips

Lighting is an essential component of a work environment. It can set the tone of an area, create focus, and improve employees’ productivity.

The lighting required in space is dependent on several factors. There are a few things to consider when determining the average lighting lux requirements for different workspaces.

The Nature of the Workspace and Its Activities

Lighting needs vary depending on the type of activity in the space. For example, a situation room will have different lighting requirements than a classroom.

An environment with too much light will be uncomfortable for rest and sleep. Too dark will obstruct concentration and work efficiency. Finding the equilibrium between light and darkness is an important matter.

The Time of Day

Lighting needs to change throughout the day as well. For example, a workspace used during the day will have different lighting requirements than one used at night.

The daylight hours call for natural light and you can use the windows or skylights to your advantage. The artificial lights should only be used during the day if the task requires seeing a screen. If these lights are used at night, they could cause headaches and eye strain.

The Time of Year

Lighting needs to change throughout the year as well. For example, a workspace used in the winter may need to be lit more than one used in the summer.

According to Dr. Michael V. Vitiello, professor of ophthalmology at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), our eyes need a certain brightness level to see properly. If it’s too bright, our pupils will shrink, which will cause us to see less clearly.

The Amount of Natural Light Available

If there is not enough natural light, artificial lighting will be needed. The intensity of the light and the color temperature vary depending on natural light availability.

The more natural light you have, the less artificial lighting you need.

The Amount of Time the Space Is Used

The lighting in a room used for a short period is different from the lighting in a room for a longer period. The cloakroom is used for a short time, unlike the room such as a kitchen.

For each, determine the suitable lighting strategy.

Improve Your Workplace Lighting Today

A well-lit space is essential for the proper mood, productivity, and health. All spaces must be lit evenly to ensure that your workplace meets these lighting standards. They should have ample brightness without looking too harsh or glaring.

LiteLume offers lighting solutions for all types of workspaces. We deliver high-quality products and services to our customers. Contact us today for appropriate lighting solutions.

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