Trends in ... lighting

‘Brighter is not always better’

When it comes to lighting in the workplace, “employers and workers should have a good understanding of the care and maintenance of safety and emergency flashlight equipment,” says Dawn Dalldorf-Jackson, director of sales, industrial division, for Eagleville, PA-based Streamlight Inc.

Safety+Health spoke with Dalldorf-Jackson and Rudy Rutemiller, eastern sales manager for Petzl in Salt Lake City, to find out more about properly lighting workspaces.

What do you wish employers and workers better understood about using lighting products in the workplace?

Rutemiller: Brighter is not always better, and lumen output is not always measured equivalently across manufacturers. Manufacturers test lumen output differently. When comparing lights, make sure you’re comparing manufacturers that use ANSI/PLATO FL 1 for their testing methods. This protocol also measures burn time and lighting distance.

Dalldorf-Jackson: All workers should understand the proper approval ratings for their flashlight environment and the importance of class, group and temperature code requirements when selecting the correct flashlight for specific applications. Many lights now have safety ratings based on the requirements of the ANSI/UL 783 standard, which is the specific standard for flashlights used in hazardous locations, or ANSI/UL 913 – the intrinsically safe standard for general electronic equipment.

And, as with fire detectors, emergency flashlight equipment should be routinely inspected and tested to prevent equipment failure during a real emergency. This should be included as part of facilities’ scheduled preventive maintenance programs.

Have there been recent innovations in the lighting industry?

Rutemiller: Rechargeable headlamps have been a big leap in the lighting world. Also, specifically offering a hands-free headlamp that uses batteries or a rechargeable battery offers the customer the ability to work quickly and efficiently. Headlamps that adapt to where you’re looking (brighter for looking far away, dimmer for when looking close to you) are another recent technological advance that saves battery life.


What concerns or questions are customers coming to you with about lighting in the workplace, and what advice do you provide?

Rutemiller: A common customer concern is wanting durable lights that are compatible with head protection systems. Most personal protective equipment manufacturers offer this solution. Some advice would be to ensure the headlamp meets all requirements, if relevant. 

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Safety signs/labels
  • Respiratory protection

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)