Does the lighting design(s) meet Health and Safety standards?

Well-designed lighting improves the working environment by allowing people to more easily see and avoid potential health and safety hazards and by ensuring they can carry out tasks safely and efficiently.

Poor lighting, on the other hand, can be detrimental to your business by causing Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), which may include eye strain, migraine, tiredness or poor concentration of people working in that environment.

In the UK, under the Health and Safety Executive in HSG 38: Lighting at Work, employers and people in control of non-domestic premises have a duty to ensure that lighting is safe and does not pose a health risk to employees and others who use their premises. A range of health and safety-at-work aspects include meeting minimum illuminance levels for various tasks (see Back of the envelope below), lamp replacement and disposal, emergency lighting systems and emergency lighting levels.

The recommended maintained illuminance levels vary for different activities. They are measured in the standard unit of lux, which defines the amount of light output reaching a given surface. Ask your lighting designer if they have worked out the appropriate maintained illuminance for each use of your lighting installations.

For example:

Maintained
illuminance (lux)

Representative Activity
(examples)

50

Cable tunnels, indoor storage tanks

100

Corridors, changing rooms

200

Foyers and entrances, dining rooms

300

Libraries, lecture theatres

500

Engine assembly, laboratories,
small retail shops

1000

Electronic assembly,
supermarkets

2000

Assembly of minute mechanisms,
finished fabric inspection

Further reading:

  • For more details on recommended minimum lighting levels and other factors of lighting in the workplace affecting H&S, please read Health & Safety Guide 38: Lighting at Work: www.hse.gov.uk