Proper lighting is critical for a productive work environment. It is important that the system provides effective illumination for workers and pays attention to the relationship between optimal lighting levels and task completion. Here are some helpful tips on lighting:

1. Most offices should strive for an illumination level near 35 foot-candles; higher for paper document activities and a little lower for computer-only tasks.

2. Warehouses and manufacturing plants should keep lighting levels between 25 and 50 foot-candles. The more a facility relies on machinery and equipment to complete tasks, the higher that number should be.

3. Consider the use of indirect lighting fixtures. Distributing light upwards and using shielded light fixtures (diffusers, lenses, louvers, etc...) are effective in minimizing screen glare.

4. Fluorescent lighting can have a variety of colors and will affect the mood of occupants. A low-glare environment is visually comforting and it augments employee productivity and satisfaction. A bulb rated at 3200-3500 Kelvin degrees (K) is considered a “soft white” color that also decreases glare. Avoid using fluorescent lamps that exceed 5000K for offices.

5. Many large facilities have installed high bay fixtures that use 250-1000 watt metal halide HID lamps. These lamps lose lumens (light output) over time.


Have a replacement schedule in place to ensure proper lighting on a continual basis. Poor lighting conditions paired with glare and frequent and/or lengthy stretches of computer work can create a multitude of physical problems that negatively impact workers.  Workers in this environment can experience eye discomfort, blurred vision, headaches, and pain in the upper back, neck, and shoulders. Consider improving your environment in the following ways:

1. Move your monitor closer or change the angle and/or height of the monitor to a position that is most comfortable and minimizes screen glare. Adjust contrast and brightness on the computer if necessary.

2. Increase the font being used on computer documents. A font of 12 or higher is recommended for most people.

3. Take breaks from sitting in one spot or staring in one location for too long.

4. Get your eyes checked out by a licensed eye care professional. They may be able to diagnose a condition before it becomes severe or suggest ways to minimize its impact.

5. Check the light levels at your desk. Consider replacing old lamps, installing light controls, removing light obstructions (i.e. filing cabinets, trays, adornments, etc…), and adding supplemental lighting such as a desk light.  Any of these changes can improve vision performance. Visit the Safety Resources section of www.asa.net for more information on how to ensure that your company is in compliance with OSHA.

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