Lighting important element in work safety changes

October, 2014

The impending policy changes to toughen up on worker safety is a good time to look at the link between effective lighting and the safety of some vocations.

Next year the Health and Safety Reform Bill will pass into law, with the aim of slashing the number of injuries and deaths on the job.

While lighting might not be at the top of the list when it comes to saving lives at work, inadequate lighting can increase the danger of many workplaces. For example, a badly lit corridor in a factory could prevent an employee seeing a forklift coming towards him. Similarly, a production line without adequate lighting could cause all sorts of injuries.

What many people don't realise is that lights do not remain at their maximum intensity throughout their life. For example, if a light has a life expectancy of 1000 hours, it may only meet the required standard for 700 hours.

Factories all have lighting standards that are measured when their first set of light fittings are installed. But from that minute they begin to lose their intensity. Would a company know they must be tested at regular intervals to make sure they still reach that standard?

This also raises the question of the lighting quality. Higher quality lights may remain at a high intensity for 80 percent of their expected life, while lower quality alternatives may deteriorate far quicker. It's usually significantly more economical to buy a more expensive option that has a longer life.

Lighting should be a major consideration when it comes to the health and safety of many vocations. These mainly cover manual jobs that are either based indoors or outside during the darker hours.

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Lighting Council New Zealand
Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand
New Zealand Green Building Council
Standards New Zealand
Association of Lighting Designers
Pure Advantage - Green Growth for Greater Wealth
New Zealand Retail Interior Association
Canterbury Employers´ Chamber of Commerce