The Flowtech Guide to Work Lights and Site Lighting
Appropriate site lighting is crucial to ensuring occupational health and safety. The right lighting is not only essential to preventing workplace accidents, however, it is also important to improving employee performance and productivity.
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Safety considerations in worksite lighting
Dimly lit factories and workplaces can lead to serious accidents involving injuries or in the worst case scenario fatalities. As such, consistent lighting is important to maintaining occupational health and safety, particularly in challenging settings that include narrow aisles or high ceilings.
To ensure a safe work environment, it is crucial to select the right work lights. For instance, choose a narrow beam to illuminate aisles and a wide beam to bring light to open areas.
Glare and momentary loss of vision can have disastrous consequences in work environments where employees are performing high-risk tasks such as operating machinery. This is where LED lights could come in handy as a glare-free lighting option. In addition, selecting the right LED colour temperature can make a dramatic improvement to a workspace. Bright lights that mimic daylight are ideal for warehouses and factories where employees work night shifts. Appropriate site lighting not only makes employees happier but is also likely to improve product quality.
High bay vs low bay lighting
High bay lighting fixtures are usually fixed to the ceiling or hung on chains, pendants or hooks. They are particularly suitable for illuminating large industrial spaces such as factories and warehouses. Many high bay lights come with side reflectors for better light distribution.
Since high bay work lights are usually used on ceilings of more than 6 metres, changing them generally requires equipment (low bay lighting is normally used for spaces with ceilings under 6 metres). As such, LED or COB lights are preferable for high bay lighting situations since they have a longer lifespan and are less prone to breaking than traditional work lights.
Site transformers are used in industrial and construction work settings to convert standard 240V voltage to 110V (most site transformers come with two 55V lines). This is important because lower voltage reduces the risk of injury or even fatalities in cases of electrocution. It also minimises the chances of electrical overloads if multiple power tools and appliances are used at the same time.
Inspection lamps are used to illuminate specific areas, making them perfect for workshop and garage work. Often used in domestic and industrial environments, inspection lamps are highly durable and portable so you can easily keep them on hand. Inspection lamps are powered either by mains or a rechargeable battery.
Industrial Extension Leads
Extension leads come in either 110V or 220V, with 110V usually used in industrial settings to supply electricity to tools or lighting. They also come in a wide range of lengths and widths to suit different work environments and situations. Industrial extension leads are usually sturdy enough for both indoor and outdoor use.
There are three types of lights used in industrial settings, each with its list of pros and cons. These include metal halide bulbs, fluorescent bulbs and LED or COB lights.
- Metal Halide Bulbs: Solid and reliable, metal halide bulbs deliver high-quality light with no warm-up time. On the downside, they are not dimmable and contain mercury, which makes them tricky to dispose of and not very eco-friendly.
- Fluorescent Bulbs: Relatively inexpensive, fluorescence bulbs offer decent light output. On the downside, they are not as energy efficient as LED lights, which means that they will end up costing you more in the long run.
- LED or COB Lights: Reliable and durable, LEDs or COBs are energy efficient and contain no mercury. They are also dimmable. On the downside, LED or COB lights require a relatively high initial investment. Nevertheless, their low operating cost and long life make LED or COB lights a great choice for industrial settings.
There are a number of reasons that LED lights are superior to traditional work lights. Firstly, they have a much longer lifespan with up to 100,000 hours of use and are less likely to break down (they will not start flickering or get dim). They are also much more energy-efficient, which translates to a lower electricity bill. With this in mind, here are some of the more common types of industrial LED lights.
- High Bay Lighting: Ideal for ceilings above 6 metres, high bay fixtures come with a high lumen output. They can be used with different types of reflectors.
- Low Bay Lighting: Ideal for ceilings under 6 metres, low bay fixtures have fewer lumens than their high bay fixture counterparts.
- Recessed Troffer Lights: These come in either new LED light fixtures or LED tube retrofits. Recessed troffer lights are surface mounted or pendant mounted. For a smaller version of recessed troffer lights, opt for linear strip lights.
- Task Lights: Lightweight and portable, task lights deliver highly concentrated illumination.
- Area Work Lights: Used to illuminate parking lots and walkways, area lights are important for ensuring employee safety after dark. If required, area lights can be affixed to poles.
What kind of LED light you opt for should depend on the space you want to illuminate. It is particularly important to think about the size of the area and the height of the ceilings. In addition, different industries require different levels of site lighting.
Lumens are a way of measuring visible light or light brightness. The more lumens, the brighter the light. For example, achieving the light brightness of a standard 60W bulb requires a LED lamp with approximately 800 lumens.
In factory settings, the number of lumens and the spacing between lights should generally increase the higher the ceiling. Ceilings between 6 and 10 metres usually require between 22,000 and 35,000 lumens and high bay spacing from around 4 to 8 metres. Meanwhile, ceilings between 8 and 12 metres should have lights with around 35,000-47,000 lumens and high bay spacing from approximately 6 to 9 metres.
When selecting LED site lighting, it is also important to take into account its colour rendering index (CRI), which measures light quality. For instance, a LED light with fewer lumens and a higher CRI might appear brighter than one with more lumens and a lower CRI.
Factories and other industrial sites can be dangerous places where workers often find themselves performing high-risk tasks including operating heavy machinery or driving forklifts. Appropriate site lighting is crucial to ensuring both employee safety and job quality. A part of this is ensuring that the space does not have overly bright spots and dimly lit nooks and crannies. As a rule of thumb, lighting should be bright enough to provide sufficient illumination but not so bright that it creates glare and impedes vision.