Reflected, natural, direct or indirect—lighting can affect your job performance.
You may not give lighting a lot of thought when you are working because light is so interwoven into our lives. It’s simply something taken for granted. However, poor jobsite lighting can contribute to eyestrain, headaches, accidents and violent incidents.
You should ask yourself these questions:
Do you have to squint to see what you are doing?
Do you leave the plant or office with a headache or a stiff back or neck on a regular basis?
Do you find yourself looking at your work at odd angles to avoid the glare cast by a desk lamp or a window?
If you work with colored fabrics, papers or paints, do you find that once the work is completed, the red you thought you were working with turns out to be some sort of dark orange?
If you take some time to consider these questions, you may discover that you are adapting to improper lighting conditions without realizing it. This adaptation, however, could cause serious damage to yourself as well as to the general safety of your workplace.
The correct lighting is necessary for quick, accurate visibility. When the light is right, you can see well; when there’s not enough light—or too much light—you can’t. Take into account the type of work to be done. For example, the amount of light needed around a conveyor may be quite different from that required at a computer station. Trained personnel can survey existing workplaces to check for adequate lighting. Traffic routes, stairways, halls and storage areas should all be adequately lit.
Lights should be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.
“Group relamping” is a system in which all lamps in a lighting system are replaced at one time, before the majority of lamps have burned out. This ensures that your lights are always working at their peak capacity. Replacing light bulbs as they burn out means that lights have to be stored on site, co-workers are disrupted to change the bulbs and you have to wait until the light bulbs are changed before you can resume your job. Regardless of what strategy is adapted at your workplace, burned out light bulbs should be replaced immediately.
Glare from lights, whether reflected glare or direct glare, can be distracting and annoying and can also cause accidents. To control glare you can use shades or reflectors to reduce direct light, place coverings around the lamp to diffuse the light, use blinds to reduce glare from windows, use non-glossy paper, try anti-glare screens at your computer terminal, and use a flat or matte finish on walls.
A workspace should be lit so that you do not have to re-adjust your eyes every time you look away from your task. There should not be extremes of dark and light. When you work, you should not have to look from near to far all the time.
In every workplace, emergency lighting must be installed, tested regularly and maintained. Safe exits should be visible in case there is an emergency which cuts off electricity.
Lighting is a major deterrent to security problems including assaults, robberies, theft and arson. These crimes often take place at night in poorly lighted areas of the plant. Report any problems with lighting, including those in the parking areas and isolated areas of your workplace.
Lighting must be taken seriously—not as an afterthought. While many of the solutions have to come by way of a decision from your boss, you should consider discussing your lighting conditions with him.