Light up your life, safely - Lighting Blog
At the beginning of 2018, GAP Hire Solutions launched its health and safety initiative Think Safe. This was designed to engage the company’s workforce and enrich the existing health and safety culture in the workplace.
A year later, GAP introduced its Interactive Toolbox Talks (ITBTs), a fun and eye-catching way of engaging workers with health and safety regulations and practices. Free to access online, the educational platform consists of 15 separate modules that provide a wealth of information on different safety topics. One of these useful modules covers the safety aspects of lighting.
Our Interactive Toolbox Talk on Lighting will provide you with information on the different types of lighting available, the minimum recommendations for lighting at work and undertaking a risk assessment on lighting.
Regulation 8 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 requires that “every workplace shall have suitable and sufficient lighting”.
When taking the lighting of a workplace into consideration, there are a number of different factors that need to be taken into account, including glare, colour and contrast as well as remembering that different activities require different levels of light. It is the employer’s duty to ensure that employees have adequate and appropriate lighting to carry out their tasks safely.
- Lighting should be designed for the specific tasks that individuals are completing within that particular environment – in general, the more detailed the task, the greater the light requirement
- Where an individual is completing various different activities, they should have control over the lighting in that area
A prime example of those who may be at risk due to workplace lighting are workers who regularly move between brightly lit and dimly lit areas, such as between a yard and a warehouse. As it takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the different light levels, it is important for the employer to make sure that there is not too much of a sudden change in lighting.
Types of lighting
There are numerous different types of lighting available to ensure your workspace is safe and well-lit. Particular attention should be given to lighting in the following workplace areas:
- Construction and building sites – tower lights
- Outdoor railway lines – tripod mounted floodlights
- Hallways – general purpose festoon lights
- Emergency exit routes – magnetic floodlights
- Mobile work areas – rechargeable work lights
All these types of lights are available to hire from GAP.
Minimum lighting recommendations
As stated in Regulation 8 every workplace should have “suitable and sufficient lighting”. If employees have difficulty doing their job because of dim lighting, then the lighting in that workspace is not suitable or sufficient.
In the industries GAP operates within, the main activities to take into consideration to ensure safe lighting is in place are; the movements of people, machines and vehicles in general and also in hazardous areas. This can relate to employees working within a depot, in the yard or on any kind of site. In all these areas there can be a high number of machinery and vehicles operating in close proximity to employees, so good visibility due to appropriate lighting is extremely necessary.
The work environment can impact an individual’s performance in a variety of ways, poor lighting can affect their ability to complete tasks or make working in some environments, such as construction sites, dangerous.
An employer should ensure that the workplaces they have responsibility for are meeting the minimum lighting requirements stated above. Again, tower lights are the most suitable type of lighting for these kinds of workspaces and GAP’s wide variety of tower lights is sure to meet any lighting needs.
Where there is a requirement for lighting to be put in place, a suitable and sufficient risk assessment should always be undertaken to establish the requirements and the controls that may be needed.
A risk assessment should involve:
- Identifying the areas of risk and the hazards present in the work area
- Checking that existing control measures are adequate and identify if more needs to be done to safeguard employees
- Measuring the adequacy of both natural and artificial lighting, particularly where work equipment is in use
- Reviewing lighting maintenance and cleaning arrangements
- Evaluating emergency lighting arrangements
Should any changes to the work environment occur, the risk assessment must be revised and updated on an ongoing basis. The employer should ensure that any changes are communicated to all employees who may be affected by them.
Points to remember
- Lighting should be sufficient to allow and enable employees to work, use the facilities and move from place to place safely and without experiencing eye strain (especially at night)
- It is the employer’s duty to ensure that employees have adequate and appropriate lighting to carry out their tasks safely, this includes informing any employees affected by recent changes in environment and/or lighting
- Each workstation/area and activity should be treated individually when considering lighting requirements
- Changes in lighting levels should be made gradually as much as is possible
- Keep in mind the minimum lighting recommendations, in particular activities that involve the movement of people, machines and vehicles in general as well as in hazardous areas
- A risk assessment should always be undertaken where there is a need for lighting to be put in place and should be revised and updated regularly
- The three stages of a lighting work assessment are considering the activity, the types of work and the minimum brightness required
- Tower lights are the best type of lighting to use on construction and building sites, especially as winter rolls in and the nights become darker and longer, GAP has a wide variety of tower lights available for hire
So, whatever you’re doing, Think Safe, don’t be left in the dark and keep your site visible.