When discussing safety measures in a construction workplace, the site’s lighting is at the bottom of the priority list, as proper gear and equipment often take over most parts of the talk. However, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency focused on maintaining a safe workplace environment, firmly states otherwise.
OSHA even listed proper lighting standards for the general industry companies to adhere to avoid civil penalties. In this blog article, you’ll learn lighting prerequisites in different construction areas, so you can adequately take them into account for your every structure project. But before you go into the detail, let’s define the foot-candle first, as it’s an integral part of securing lighting rules.
What is Foot-Candle?
Foot-Candle is OSHA’s standard unit of measurement, utilized by many lighting professionals worldwide as well. You can call the foot-candle the illuminance of one square-foot surface from a light source. The Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 1926.56, states that light candle-feet is one of the site requirements for various work types.
Here are the lighting measures your construction company should follow religiously:
- GENERAL LIGHTING REQUIREMENTS
In every workplace, it’s a general rule for lighting to be distributed evenly throughout the site without any gaps. This way, firms can ensure that all their workers can see and move comfortably without hurting themselves. Presented below are the candle-feet breakdowns for each work site:
1. 30-foot-candles: The 30-foot-candles standard often gets implemented in service places like first-aid stations, offices, and infirmaries.
2. 10-foot-candles: General construction plants and shops often apply 10-foot-candles measures on their production sites. Also included are work task areas in an underground setting with drilling, mucking, and scaling actions that also need the foot-candles standard. Employers can achieve it with the help of overhead lights and other lighting forms like cap lights.
3. 5 foot-candles: For general construction areas, warehouses, and other indoor sections, such as walkways, corridors, exits, and many more, OSHA recommends the five foot-candles.
4. 3 foot-candles: Lastly, construction spaces for concrete placement, wastes, loading platforms, active storage, field maintenance, refueling, and excavation sites only need 3 foot-candles.
- TASK AND EMERGENCY LIGHTING
Task and Emergency Lighting are special lighting types that address a specific issue or concern. For instance, you can use task lighting to execute the job flawlessly when a particular action requires some extraordinary light source setting. OSHA also authorizes employers to follow the American National Standard A11.1-1965, R1970 for industrial lighting.
Meanwhile, standard 1910 governs the utilization of emergency lighting or reserved source lighting, especially in cases of power failure. Employers can notice that most of the rules for general lighting also observe the same guideline for emergency lighting usage. However, temporary electrical installations of over 600 volts are exclusive for emergencies, tests, or brief construction activities only.
Prerequisites for light installation
What regulates the implementation of lighting installation requirements is the OSHA standard 1910.305. It states that the rules are set for permanent and temporary light fixtures unless specified otherwise. The preventive measures include the safe grounding of conductors when necessary circumstances come.
Moreover, it emphasizes that employers should avoid installing wiring systems, particularly on ducts where dust and other flammable debris bears. To keep your electrical system concealed and protected, you can place water resistant gasketed access doors on your construction site to prevent water penetration that can compromise your facilities and eventually delay jobs.
Importance of lighting
Proper lighting, most especially in workplaces like construction sites wherein about 85% of the information they perceive is through their sense of sight, is crucial in maintaining:
- Tasks easier and simpler to do
- Reduce eye fatigue and headaches
- Prevent visibility problems and other relevant safety hazards
However, balance the lighting and make the area manageable, as it can also prevent you from seeing your task or job tools properly. Consider a contrast between your product and its near background. Too little difference will give workers a hard time distinguishing one thing from another.
Different light source types
Light sources often originate from:
- Daylight: Depending on your building’s architecture and design, sunlight amount and direction, cloud cover, local terrain, and the season where you’re currently in, the light coming naturally from the sun can reach your site inside through windows, doors, and other clean areas. This unrefined light is often desirable in workplaces as it contains no glare and over-the-top radiance.
- Electric light: This type of light source utilizes electrical mechanisms like bulbs to produce light, and it must match the environment to perform the job seamlessly. You can consider these seven light bulbs: Incandescent, Fluorescent, Mercury, Low-pressure sodium, High-pressure sodium, Metal Halide, and Light-emitting diodes (LED). Remember to search more about these electrical lightings as they’re suitable for a specific purpose.
Various types of light fixtures
Light fixtures, also known as luminaires in most scholarly publications, composes various methods to control and fairly distribute the light in a small room or big establishment. The following ways are some of the options you can wisely apply to your sites:
- Direct: The direct light fixture discharges about 90% to 100% of the light downward to the work area. Keep in mind that preferring to use this option can exhibit shadows toward your project.
- Direct-indirect: The direct-indirect light fixtures equally disburses light upwardly and downwardly, where some reflect on the ceiling and other room facades. Many experts recommend this method to apply in clean manufacturing areas.
- Indirect: Opposite to the direct approach, the indirect light fixtures dispense about 90% to 100% light upward, providing the evenest illumination out of all fixture types. It’s suitable in offices with clean and reflective ceilings and upper walls.
- Shielded: The shielded light fixtures, on the other hand, grant three furnishings you can choose from according to your site’s needs or your liking. It provides diffusers, lenses, and louvers that will cover direct viewing of bulbs to avoid glare.
Proper lighting guarantees a safe workplace environment
Contractors and employers should collectively treat lighting as an integral part of the construction site, assuring everyone’s safety and protecting them from imminent danger. This way, you can fend off preventable visibility problems that can halt your construction works. Following the standard light measures as OSHA recommends can make the flow of your project smooth and seamless.