2021 Lighting and flashlights

Trends in ... lighting and flashlights

When it comes to products being misused in the workplace, many people may not think of lighting-related items, but it’s happening and employers need to pay attention. Misuse “is probably the biggest issue employers and workers face” when it comes to workplace lighting and flashlights, says Dawn Dalldorf-Jackson, director of sales, industrial division, at Streamlight Inc.

Safety+Health spoke with Dalldorf-Jackson and Samantha Heim, media specialist at Petzl America, about properly using lighting in the workplace.

What do you wish workers better understood about workplace lighting?

Dalldorf-Jackson: Managers need to pay close attention to rapidly changing technology and enhancements, so they are better equipped to train personnel on specifics, which in turn leads to a safer, more productive working environment. This is especially true for emergency flashlight equipment. Regular training on how to operate emergency flashlights – including being familiar with where lights are located – is critical. All flashlight equipment should be routinely inspected and tested to prevent equipment failure.

One area that’s frequently misunderstood is flashlight ratings. Workers need to understand which flashlight, lantern or headlamp carries the proper approval ratings for the environment in which they will use it. In the United States, some lights now have a safety rating approval based on the requirements of the ANSI/UL 783 standard – the specific standard for flashlights used in hazardous locations – or ANSI/UL 913, the intrinsically safe standard for general electronic equipment. Although either standard can direct certification to Division 1 level, workers must understand the importance of class, group and temperature code requirements when selecting the correct flashlight for specific applications.

Heim: It’s important to be aware of the environments where workers are using hands-free lighting. A HazLoc – “hazardous location” – area refers to those areas with a potential for explosions because of the atmosphere. Only certified lamps can be used in these areas. Additionally, workers need to realize the importance of reliable hands-free lighting. One high-quality, rugged and reliable headlamp means you won’t have to buy multiple headlamps, or continue to replace a cheap headlamp.

Any recent innovations in this area?

Dalldorf-Jackson: A big trend is in the area of intrinsically safe products. New high-output USB rechargeable flashlights and headlamps take worker safety in hazardous environments one step further. USB rechargeable lights enable workers to recharge on the go, eliminate trip hazards from loose charge cords and allow for flexibility in lighting conditions. The newest class of work lights fits in tight places, is hands-free or hanging, can rotate on their bodies to provide area lighting wherever it’s needed, and offers features such as gasket-sealed lenses that are impervious to common corrosive chemicals.

Heim: Lumen count for hands-free lighting has been increasing because of more efficient LEDs. Also, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are a recent innovation that I think will receive more attention over the next few years.

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Hearing protection
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