Office workers need their lighting. They spend a lot of time working with their eyes, and proper lighting is essential to that. This means that every office needs to make the most of their lamps, which requires the occasional upgrade to LED lights. Here are a few things you should consider when upgrading your lighting.
Meet OSHA's Requirements
Offices are workplaces, and so OSHA requirements for workplaces apply to them. OSHA originally set their standards based on the American National Standard A11.1-1965, R1970 and put them forth in Standard 10. They generally require that offices have at least 30 foot-candles of illumination (a foot-candle is a unit of light that is one foot all around from a light source and equal to one lumen.) The minimum for corridors and exits is 5 foot-candles, while workrooms need a minimum of 10 foot-candles.
OSHA also recommends task lighting for specific areas where people do a lot of detail work. Desks would be a good example, as would a drawing board. Just be careful to put the lights where they won't shine in an employee's eyes. This will prevent eyestrain and keep your employees comfortably productive.
Other Safety Concerns
Offices tend to lack the same moving parts that warehouses and factories have, but that does not make them risk-free. Poor lighting decisions can leave your employees tripping or running into hot bulbs. You can avoid this by meeting the standards put forth by the National Fire Protection Association. Its main purpose is setting standards that will keep people safe, and many municipalities accept these as their own building codes. They recommend recessed lighting, since this makes it harder for people to come in contact with the bulbs by accident. They also have recommendations that will prevent electrical fires, so any electrician you hire should be well versed in the standards.
Deciding to change to LEDs from incandescent or other lights is a great idea.
- LEDs illuminate evenly with a light that your employees will find easy on their eyes.
- Your bookkeeper will also find them appealing because they cost much less than other lights to burn. They can save your company as much as 75% on energy consumption.
- LED lights last much longer than incandescent lights. This reduces what you pay to replace lights.
When you do decide to change to LEDs, there are some things to consider when designing your new lighting system.
1. The first is that LEDs are more directional than incandescent lights. Incandescent and fluorescent put out light in a full circle around the bulb, but LEDs are flat diodes that cast light in a 180 degree arc (unless you specifically purchase omnidirectional LED bulbs). Also, the increased efficiency of LEDs changes the number of diodes that are necessary to meet OSHA lighting requirements. Light doesn't get wasted in bouncing off of lamp fixtures, which means that it can seem much brighter to your employees than the old lights.
This may change how many lights you will need in any given space and where you place them. The easiest conversion would be to simply replace each old bulb with new LEDs, but you have to make sure that the light output will be the same. At least it has to continue to meet OSHA requirements. You will want to talk with your electrician about where to put your new lights to accomplish this.
2. The other thing to remember is that you have to take your old system into account. For example, if you were using dimming incandescent lights systems, the NFPA recommends that you replace them with dimming LED light systems, so the systems will be compatible. It will also cut down on the amount of new wiring that has to be installed. Also, find out if the new bulbs are designed to work in your fixtures. If you are retrofitting your current light fixtures with LEDs, make sure the retrofit is compatible with the existing fixtures.
Fortunately, Lighting Services, Inc. can help you manage all of these aspects of lighting. If your office is considering upgrading, contact us.