Office lighting, something to be taken seriously

Among the risks inherent in workplace, those related to lighting are certainly the least understood. However, they can turn out to be very damaging in the long term. This is why the INRS (National Institute for Research and Safety) has issued a practical safety sheet. With the aim of raising awareness and producing a document that brings together all the needed information. Target ? Everyone, but especially business leaders and HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) managers of companies. Because lighting is an essential component of a good quality of life at work (QWL).

Before discussing the choice of lamps, INRS details the principles to be observed in order to optimize lighting in workplace. Light is a source of well-being and regeneration of our bodies. Many studies show that natural light is excellent for our bodies and naturally stimulates our hormones (mainly cortisol which acts directly on vitality and melatonin which acts on the ability to fall asleep, and the quality of sleep), which allow you to perform during the day and sleep well at night.

On the contrary, artificial light does not stimulate these hormones and in periods when the days are short and the amount of sunshine is low, we frequently notice that employees are more tired (sometimes from the start of the day, because night was not restful), sometimes irritable, and often lacking in concentration.

Ensure sufficient illumination

Illuminance is the quantity defined by photometry. It corresponds to the human sensation of how a surface is illuminated. In order for an object that does not produce light on its own to be visible, it must receive light. The more it receives, the clearer it is, and clearly visible. Photometry rigorously defines the light received, in order to be able to calculate this quantity. It takes into account the luminous intensity of light sources, their distance and direction. The illumination must therefore be sufficient. At the risk of creating eye fatigue which can affect the eyes for a long time. The level of illumination required varies depending on the activity practiced.

However, we can distinguish two types of tasks and the respective lighting levels. Tasks that do not require the perception of details. The recommended illuminance is then 300 lux. For those requiring on the contrary their perception, the recommended power varies between 500 and 100 lux. Remember that poor lighting can pose a security risk. A poor estimate of the position, shape or speed of an object that can cause incidents. Bad lighting can quickly affect the quality of work and overall productivity. Especially when the tasks require precision

Avoid glare at all costs

Glare is a common lighting problem. It occurs when a light source that is too bright or the reflection of the projected light interferes with the “vision” of an object. In most cases, the eyes adapt to the light flow with the greatest intensity. Once the eye gets used to it, it is less able to see details in dark areas of the workstation. And this, even if they are in fact sufficiently illuminated! Glare can cause discomfort and discomfort, and can even reduce a person’s visual ability in the long term.

Avoid excessive contrasts in the visual field

A good contrast is necessary between what is to be perceived and the background. However, between different areas of the visual field, too high contrasts reduce the efficiency of vision. Thus deteriorating visual comfort. The illumination of the surrounding area must be in relation to that of the work area. It is also necessary to achieve a well-balanced distribution of luminances over the visual field.

Take into account the characteristics of the operators

Lighting requirements differ depending on age. It must be more important if you are old. Needs also vary depending on the task at hand. Faced with this complexity, operators must have all the adjustment options available. In order to adapt the intensity of the light sources as much as possible.

Integrate device maintenance into purchasing decisions

Getting into this little habit helps realize the importance of investing in long-lasting lamps. Maintenance includes replacing lamps, combating dust, and cleaning reflectors and grilles.

Tips for choosing the right lamps

When choosing lamps, account should be taken of ergonomic principles and recommended lighting devices depending on the type of task. Other factors, such as lifespan or power consumption, must be taken into account. Taking into account and optimizing all these criteria generally leads to the following types of solutions:

  • For general lighting, fluorescent, tubular or compact lamps, discharge lamps (such as metal halide with ceramic burner) are preferred.
  • For local lighting above a workstation (which complements general lighting), fluorescent tubes fitted with reflectors and louvre grilles, as well as LED luminaires fitted with suitable optics make it possible to ” avoid glare while respecting the criteria mentioned above.
  • Finally, for local lighting placed on the worktop, it is advisable to opt for luminaires equipped with articulated arms. Which can be adjusted horizontally and vertically.

Now, thanks to INRS, you can no longer go wrong. Which is all the more important if you are a decision maker on any of these topics. The INRS fact sheets are there to help you. Because good lighting prevents health problems and increases productivity, we cannot repeat it enough.