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The right kind of lighting benefits companies in many ways

Published: 15.2.2018 10:43 / Categories: Economy, Well-being

High-quality lighting is essential in order to work optimally. This is especially important when it comes to older employees. However, good lighting has been proven to have a positive impact on the performance of employees of all ages, occupational safety, the number of accidents and absences, health and general wellbeing. As a result, lighting has a direct impact on productivity.(1)

Insufficient or imperfect lighting may strain the eyes of employees, cause headaches and fatigue, and these reduce the ability to work and efficiency. Often, these symptoms are caused by a too low lighting level, glare or flicker. Flicker also affects concentration and eye movements; for example, reading in a flickering light doubles the number of eye movements and slows down the reading speed. A flicker may be visible, but, even if it was invisible to the human eye, it will not go unnoticed by the retina and brain.(4)

High-quality light prevents accidents and improves productivity
Studies show that high-quality lighting helps to improve productivity by 8% on average.(1)

The graph below (source: Ir. W.J.M. van Bommel et al, Industrial lighting and productivity, 2002 (1)) illustrates the impact of lighting on productivity and occupational accidents in the metal industry. Even a fairly small increase in illuminance of 200 lx (300 lx -> 500 lx) raises productivity by 6%. Similarly, the number of errors decreases by 8% and the number of accidents by 14%. If the illuminance was increased to 1,000 lx, productivity would increase by roughly 10%, and the number of errors would decrease by 15% and the number of accidents by as much as 27%.

Even though lighting plays a significant part in improving occupational safety, replacing lights alone is not enough. However, high-quality lighting reduces the risk of accidents further in work environments where occupational safety is already at a high level.

In addition, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has stated that productivity increases by 8–9% in demanding tasks where vision is needed when illuminance is increased from 500 lx to 1,600 lx.(2) This can be explained by better concentration, which, in turn, reduces the number of errors. The survey conducted by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health states that the aforementioned increase in illuminance halved the number of errors. It has also been discovered that the employee absence rate decreases when lighting is improved.(3) When the work environment has a sufficient and high-quality lighting system, employees work better and enjoy more, and the number of sick leave decreases.

The graph above clearly indicates that occupational accidents, particularly in industrial fields, can be prevented by means of high-quality lighting.(1) It should also be noted that, in addition to illuminance, all components of lighting, such as the temperature of colour, luminance, colour rendering, the evenness of lighting and correctly directed light, play a significant part in preventing accidents. For example, uneven lighting or excess glare can reduce visibility and possibly lead to a misjudgement of hazardous situations. A flicker can be dangerous in situations where it is important to accurately see moving parts of machines.

In summary, characteristics of high-quality lighting are:
– sufficient amount of light
– uniform and even lighting in the work area
– no glare
– high colour rendering
– no flicker

In other words, a high illuminance alone is not a sufficient indicator of high-quality lighting.

Finnish LED tubes produce high-quality light
Valtavalo LED tubes produce high-quality light with a continuous spectrum and high colour rendering. It produces light in the blue wavelength that is important in terms of vision and has an impact on alertness and the production of melatonin. The excellent colour consistency (MacAdam 3 SDCM) of the Valtavalo LED tube is verified individually for every LED tube. The problem of flickers has been solved in G4 LED tubes by focusing on the power source, and the product has no flicker in practice. Its flicker rate is less than 5, while that of a fluorescent tube or a typical competing LED tube is more than 30. Valtavalo LED tubes are particularly designed for workplaces and facilities where people remain for long periods and where they must be able to see well.

The transition to modern lighting not only improves wellbeing at work and increases productivity, it also produces significant energy savings. As a result, high-quality lighting benefits both the employer and employees, and investments made in lighting quickly repay themselves.

 

References: 
1) W.J.M van Bommel, Ir. G.J. van den Beld, Ir. M.H.F. van Ooijen: Industrial lighting and productivity
2) Työterveyslaitos https://www.ttl.fi/tyoymparisto/tyotilojen-suunnittelu/hyva-valaistus-tyotilassa/ (in Finnish)
3) Juslén Henri: Lighting, productivity and preferred luminances – field studies in the industrial environment (2007)
4) Poplawski, M.E. & Miller N.M. Flicker in Solid-State Lighting: Measurement Techniques, and Proposed Reporting and Application Criteria, 2013

More on the theme:
 1789-2015 – IEEE Recommended Practices for Modulating Current in High-Brightness LEDs for Mitigating Health Risks to Viewers
* B.K. Hawes et al. / International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 42 (2012) 122-128: (A. T. Kearney, Canazei et ai., Licht.wissen 19 (s. 30))
* Suominen-Lopes Marjaana: Illumination as a promoter of occupational safety and ergonomics (2013)
* Proper driver design eliminates LED light strobe flicker, LED’s Magazine 04/2014
* Understand the lighting flicker frustration, LED’s Magazine 11-12/2015
* Chart the course of energy-efficient SSL through lighting regulations, LED’s Magazine 10/2015

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