Lighting plays an essential role in preventing accidents and injuries in the workplace.

When lighting conditions are optimal, it can increase productivity and improve the quality of work. Optimal lighting provides workers with an environment where they can clearly read labels and instructions, allowing workers to identify hazards and perform tasks safely.

Identifying Lighting Needs

Workplace-lighting needs can be identified with workers, both at safety meetings and before tasks begin. Correcting lighting issues does not always mean adding more light fixtures.
Here are some ways to correct insufficient lighting:

  • Replace bulbs on a regular schedule. Old bulbs give less light than new ones, so replace them before they burn out. Follow manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Clean light fixtures regularly. Dirty light fixtures give off less light.
  • Paint walls and ceilings with light colors so light can be reflected.
  • Use more reflected light and local lighting to eliminate shadows.
    For example, a covered light mounted under a transparent guard on a grinding wheel provides the added light needed to see clearly.

The amount of lighting needed in the workplace varies.
Variables include:

  • Type of task being done
  • Type of surfaces (Does it reflect or absorb light?)
  • Individual’s vision

Temporary Lighting

When choosing a temporary lighting system, ask some questions about the space:

  • How high are the ceilings? Will the light reach the ground?
  • How many rooms need light?
  • Is it a wet environment?
  • Is it an explosive environment?

There are many different types of temporary lighting available to illuminate jobsites.
It is important to find the one best suited to the space being used.
Some of the more popular types of temporary lighting are:

  • string/cord lights (stringers)
  • balloon lights
  • floodlights
  • hand lamps
  • wobble lights
  • metal-halide lamps
  • explosion-proof lights

When setting up temporary lighting, here are some factors to consider:

  • When possible, keep temporary lights eight feet off the floor.
  • Protect the lightbulbs from breaking or being contacted by installing “bird cages.”
  • Do not hang lights by their cords unless they are designed to do so.
  • Dead, missing, or low-watt bulbs, as well as inadequate power and blown fuses can leave stairwells, basements, and other areas poorly lit or with no lighting at all, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Ladders, pipes, scaffold frames, and other objects can bump stringers, leading to electrical contact and shock. Keep string lights out of doorways as steel door frames can become electrified when doors close on wires.

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