The importance of good lighting

Mar 30, 2023

Lighting Good 2

Almi Bradfield-van Wyk has written this fantastic piece on the importance of good lighting and why it’s essential to illuminate correctly for the type of work being done.

Almi is the newest addition to the Chemsafety team and is based in the Wellington office.  She has over 10 years of experience in the Occupational Hygiene and Environmental Field and has moved from South Africa where she was a Senior Consultant & Occupational Hygienist.

The term ‘Illumination’ refers to the amount of light that a space is exposed to. When it comes to the work spaces, Illumination is a crucial factor that can have a significant impact on the productivity, safety, and overall wellbeing of employees. Let us explore the different aspects of illumination in work places and the ways in which it can be optimized.

To begin with, one of the most critical aspects of illumination is the amount of light that is present in a workspace. Insufficient illumination can cause several problems. For example, low light levels can cause eyestrain, headaches, and fatigue. Furthermore, it can lead to difficulties in reading or seeing small details, which is particularly problematic for those who need to read or work with small parts or fine details. On the other hand, excessive illumination can cause its own set of problems. For instance, it can cause glare, which is a significant contributor to eyestrain and headaches.

Another important factor to consider when it comes to illumination is the colour temperature of the light source. The colour temperature of light is measured in Kelvin and refers to the overall tone of the light emitted by a source. For example, warm white light has a lower Kelvin temperature and appears more yellowish, while cool white light has a higher Kelvin temperature and appears more bluish. Generally, cooler white light is preferred in work spaces, as it appears brighter and can help to improve focus and concentration. In contrast, warm white light is more relaxing and is typically used in spaces where a relaxed atmosphere is desired, such as break rooms or lounges.

Beyond the amount and colour temperature of illumination, the direction and distribution of light are also critical. Optimizing the distribution of light in a space is essential to ensuring that no areas are overly bright or dim, which can lead to discomfort and eyestrain. Directional lighting, such as task lighting, can also be essential in providing light where it is needed most, especially in areas where detailed or precise work is carried out.

Lastly, it’s essential to ensure that illumination is optimized for the type of work that is being done. For example, spaces where reading and writing are essential should have lighting optimized to reduce glare and shadowing. Meanwhile, spaces where visual inspection is required, such as inspection booths, may require more localized and bright lighting to ensure that work can be conducted accurately.

In conclusion, illumination is a crucial component of any work space. Various elements need to be considered when optimizing illumination levels in any given work environment, such as the amount and colour temperature of light, the direction and distribution of light, and the type of work being carried out in a given area. By taking these factors into account, employers can create a safe and comfortable work environment that supports employee productivity, health, and wellbeing.

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