In the last two installments of Empowering, we discussed the impact of lighting on the brain with regards to mood, mental health, performance, and productivity. This month, we’ll examine how to use this information when selecting lighting for your workplace.
Because lighting is not one-size-fits-all, a knowledgeable lighting designer should help you answer consider the following issues that could be present in your workplace:
- Is there enough lighting for employees to see what they’re doing easily?
- Is there too much lighting? (This results in glare issues and eyestrain.)
- Is there poor contrast? (If employees struggle to distinguish objects from the background or if areas have very different light levels, then contrast might be a problem.)
- Is the light poorly distributed? (Some areas might be dark and others bright.)
- Are shadows common? (Direct lighting often results in shadows.)
- Are accident-prone areas such as stairs well lit?
- Is reducing energy use something your business is interested in? (If so, you may want to select bulbs such as CFLs or LEDs.)
Once you’ve determined which of these issues are present in your facility, you can find ways to improve your lighting. In the next installment of the Empowering blog, you’ll get specific tips for improving the lighting in your business or office.
Improve Lighting with These Tips
In general, employers should try to provide enough light, reduce glare, improve contrast and eliminate excessive shadows. To achieve this, try some of the following methods suggested by the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS):
- Replace bulbs on a schedule. Over time, bulbs begin to emit less light.
- Clean fixtures. Accumulated dust reduces the amount of light being distributed throughout the work area.
- Add more lighting in dim areas. For example, if a worker is struggling to read documents, provide a task lamp. Task lamps can also help eliminate shadows.
- If lighting is inadequate, paint walls and ceilings light colors to reflect light.
- Avoid positioning lights directly behind workers, as this can create shadows.
- To reduce glare, cover bulbs, use fixtures that are lower intensity and provide lamps with brightness controls. You can also paint walls with matte paint and remove shiny objects from the work area.
- Improve lighting distribution by using fixtures that direct light upwards.
- Get input from workers. Find out how the lighting is working for them and if eyestrain is a problem.
According to CCOHS, “People receive about 85 percent of their information through their sense of sight.” That means facilitating good eyesight is worth spending time and money on. Workers are more likely to be involved in accidents if they can’t see well and their job performance could suffer.
Programmable Lighting is the Next Big Thing
Innovative companies are already discovering the power of strategic lighting. “We’re already seeing the potential for programmable light that can replicate our circadian rhythms and be easily controlled with smart home controls, bulbs and fixtures,” explains Vice President of Residential Lighting, Matthew Rowan. “We already have the technology available to enable us to change the intensity, color, and direction of light using voice commands or timed daily routines.”
Call Dominion Electric Supply
To learn more about lighting for your next project, contact Dominion Electric Supply. Depending on the type, size, and scope of your project, we’ll connect you with a lighting specialist who can help you choose the right solution for you and your customers.