Lighting Requirements for an Office Area

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Lighting for the illumination of the workplace is bound by federal regulations that have been formulated by OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration.) The federal agency known is tasked with protecting the safety and health all U.S. workplace environments and workers. Proper lighting can thwart accidents and defend workers’ eyes from being strained. There are four different factors of lighting that fall under OSHA requirements. These are lighting measurement, general lighting, task lighting and emergency lighting.

Measurment of lighting

OSHA regulations have established that the workplace lighting be measured in units labeled foot-candles by using a light meter. The term “foot-candle” is a term defined by Webster’s as “a unit of illuminance on a surface that is everywhere one foot from a uniform point source of light of one candle and equal to one lumen per square foot.”

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General office lighting

General lighting is illumination that is set evenly throughout the workplace. An example of this would be overhead lighting that is evenly spaced to provide illumination in a warehouse. Allowing workers to move about and see easily is the purpose of general lighting. Hallways and corridors a minimum of 5 candle-feet of light. The standard of 30 foot-candles is the minimum lighting requirement for an office space. Workrooms require at least 10 candle-feet.

Office task lighting

The purpose of task lighting is to focus light and aim it at a specific area to help accomplish a specific task. For instance in a production warehouse, task lighting will be provided by spotlight or desk light. This will aid a worker in clearly seeing small components in the production or dismantling of merchandise. Per the American National Standard A11.1-1965, R1970, Practice for Industrial Lighting, Task lighting prevents workers from injury and eyestrain.

Emergeny office lighting

Emergency lighting is light that is connected to a reserve power source in case of power failure.An emergency light will come online if general and task lighting turn off because of an initial power failure. Emergency lighting is also usually set up near signs that are posted at every emergency exit to help workers safely evacuate. Exit-ways and corridors are required to maintain a minimum of 5 candle-feet.

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