The use of correct lighting in the workplace is mandatory for the employer. It is to ensure the comfort, safety and hygiene of the employee. In addition to being regulated by health and safety legislation, it has a substantiated impact on the employee’s eyesight and the quality of work and productivity.

Health and safety at the workplace

Lighting at work should comply with the standards that are in line with Polish legislation and be strictly defined for a specific job. The requirements for lighting of indoor workplaces are regulated by Chapter 2, Section III of the Ordinance of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 26 September 1997. on the general occupational health safety and regulations.

Workplace lighting – applicable standards

The correct workplace lighting should be chosen according to the type of work performed and ensure the comfort and safety of the workers.

Regardless of the nature of the activities carried out, the work surface must be illuminated evenly and the room must be free of visual distractions. A very important parameter that also affects the quality of lighting is thelight intensity, expressed in lux, which is, in simple terms, the extent to which the work surface is illuminated. As might be guessed, too little illumination promotes distraction, while too much light will dazzle the employee. In both cases, this can only lead to reduced productivity and quality of work. It is important to remember to adjust the light intensity to the size of the room, the colours of the walls and the decoration, as well as the distance of the light source from the workplace due to possible reflection or dispersion of light. Each workplace should be located in a place with a constant access to daylight. This is important for the comfort and well-being of the employee. Furthermore, workplaces should be equipped with artificial light sources. For the use of purely electric lighting, the employer must obtain the approval of the State Regional Sanitary Inspector competent for the area. This approval is given in consultation with the district labour inspectorate.

The minimum lighting requirements for individual indoor workplaces are set out in PN EN 12464-1. The lighting parameters, such as average intensity, glare factor and colour rendering index, may vary considerably depending on the type of interior, the tasks performed and the area in which the work is done. The following table shows examples of these parameters for different types of interiors and the work performed.

Interior type, application

Em 1

UGR 2

Ra 3

Segregation, copying

300

19

80

Handwriting, reading, using the keyboard

500

19

80

Drawing

750

16

80

Rough assembly

200

25

80

Precision assembly

750

19

80

1 average lighting intensity, 2 glare factor, 3 colour rendering index, also referred to as CRI

Variation of lighting intensity vs. luminaire height

The data in the table above refer among others to lighting of a computer workstation. It is assumed that the average lighting intensity should be at least 500 lux at the computer itself, so that all activities can be carried out. Note, however, that, for example, if the work performed is of short duration, these parameters may change slightly.

Graph 1

Task area [lx]

Immediate vicinity of the visual work [lx]

>750

500

500

300

300

200

<200

E of the visual work area

Moreover, in addition to the intensity in the work area, the illumination of its immediate surroundings is also important. It applies to a strip at least 0.5 m away from the work area. The minimum requirements for average lighting intensity are shown in Figure 1. As can be seen, the immediate surroundings can have 30-40% lower lighting intensity than the workplace itself.

Benefits of adequate lighting at work

Proper adaptation of lighting systems to the individual needs of employees, as well as the requirements of the tasks performed, affect both emploee efficiency and productivity.

More and more emphasis is being placed on the visual aspects of the lighting used and on the comfort of users. Modern lighting systems based on LED technology also provide the opportunity for imaginative interior design. LED luminaires are practical and durable, but also feature simplicity and elegant design. Consider, for example, office luminaires fitted with LED downlights, which allow the light output to be adjusted to the needs of the interior. With these solutions, the combination of an efficient light source and a quality power supply system can be easily created. Although modern workplace lighting has to meet stringent regulatory, occupational health and safety requirements and, at the same time, ensure llighting functionality, it can also give a lot of freedom to the employee when adjusting the luminaire’s lighting output to their actual needs.

The effects of correct workplace lighting

No feeling of fatigue, increased employee productivity

Improved employee concentration

Comfort of employees
in the workplace

Improved visibility of even the smallest items in the workplace

Consequences of inadequate workplace lighting

Feeling of fatigue, reduced employee productivity

Concentration issues, more frequent errors

Employee eye pain and
headaches

Less effective perception of sources of danger, higher risk of accidents

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