Proper Lighting in Warehouses & Industrial Facilities

Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Oct 17, 2018

Maintaining proper lighting is an important component in creating a safe work environment. When working in a properly lit warehouse or industrial site, the risk of slips, trips, falls, and other accidents is reduced.

OSHA outlines minimum illumination intensities for general construction areas, underground work areas, and indoor facilities including warehouses in standard number 1926.56(a). A minimum of 5 foot-candles is required for general construction area lighting, warehouses, tunnels, and underground work areas. In general construction plants and shops including carpenter shops, electrical equipment rooms, and active store rooms, OSHA requires a minimum of 10 foot-candles. Finally, in first aid stations, infirmaries, and offices, a minimum of 30 foot-candles is required.


Benefits of Proper Lighting in a Warehouse or Industrial Setting

  1. Reduce Work Errors and Increase Worker Productivity
    If a warehouse is not properly lit, merchandise or supplies may be hidden in dark, forgotten corners, causing workers to waste time trying to find these items. By providing an adequately lit work environment, employees are able to locate items quickly, increasing worker productivity. Workers can also see labels more clearly, helping to reduce shipping mistakes.
  2. Reduce Losses & Damage to Property
    Proper lighting is required to allow heavy equipment to travel through a warehouse without accidentally hitting a rack or side of an aisle. If a rack is hit, workers are at risk of items falling from high shelving, as well as damage to products, leading to a costly replacement process or loss of revenue.
  3. Keep Facility a Stable Temperature
    Older style light bulbs operate at a high temperature, leading to temperature increases throughout the day. While the warehouse may feel comfortable in the morning hours, the building warms up later in the day, causing some employees to feel sleepy and leading to decreased productivity. Unlike traditional fixtures, newer LED fixtures operate at much lower temperatures, reducing temperature changes throughout the day and leading to a more stable environment.
  4. Reduces Heavy Equipment and Forklift Accidents
    In a poorly lit warehouse, forklift drivers may not see workers walking down warehouse aisles or coming around dimly lit corners, especially if a driver is moving quickly. Bright LED lighting including lights designed specifically for use on forklifts will improve a driver’s ability to see others, reducing the risk of an accident.
  5. Protects Workers Health
    In poor lighting conditions, workers cannot see as clearly, and therefore are more prone to developing headaches or vision problems. Workers are also more susceptible to slips, trips and falls from unseen obstacles due to a lack of lighting.

Before developing a lighting plan for your warehouse, contact a lighting contractor who will analyze your lighting needs using a lighting calculator. The total square footage, number of aisles, and type of structure are all factors that help determine a lighting plan for your facility.

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