We all know how much brighter and more energetic we feel if we take a walk in the sunshine. But light has a vital impact in the workplace too. Exposure to well-designed LED lighting can improve our mood, cognitive performance and even make us more alert.
In an industrial environment, where staff safety can be at risk, the importance of being alert cannot be underestimated. In truth, it can make the difference between good health and injury, or even life and death.
According to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistic office, during 2015 almost one third (31.6 %) of all non-fatal work accidents occurred on industrial sites1.
There’s no doubt that moving machinery, vehicles and working at height all create a hazardous environment, which means workers need to be constantly on their guard.
The danger of fatigue
In this setting, fatigued workers are a danger to themselves and others. Their reactions will be slower, their coordination impaired and they will be less accurate at assessing risk. Shocking figures from the Health and Safety Executive suggest that fatigue costs the UK £115-240million every year in workplace accidents2.
And on an extreme level, it has been cited as a cause of major international disasters, including Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
For the one-in-five European industrial workers employed on night shifts, this issue is even more critical. Night packers, machinery operators and lorry drivers desperately need to be alert, just when their bodies are craving sleep.
It’s an issue that’s considered so important, The University of Bergen is carrying out a five-year project to investigate how aspects of the physical work environment (including light conditions) can be arranged to help staff adapt to night shifts3.
The LED solution
So, what can be done to help workers feel less fatigued, and more alert?
Thankfully, human-centric LED lighting systems can help mitigate some of the challenges, because of its ability to simulate daylight. Studies find that staff working under white light report greater alertness, enhanced performance and also better sleep.
And of course, an employee who sleeps better will also perform better in the long term.
This relationship is recognised by the WELL Building Standard, a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing.
BREEAM, the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings, also recognises the value in higher performing assets, including lighting, across the built environment lifecycle.
Unlike traditional lamps, which have a Colour Rendering Index of less than 50, our LED systems have a high CRI of 80 plus. This means they have a far better ability to replicate daylight, enabling workers to feel more energised and alert as a consequence.
The outcome? A happier workforce, and potentially less accidents too.
Improved hazard detection
If you have any doubt around the visual safety benefits of modern LED lighting, consider a study performed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Researchers discovered that miners equipped with a specially-developed LED cap lamp benefited from 194% improvement in floor hazard detection. They also experienced a 79% improvement in peripheral motion detection, which is critical for identifying moving hazards4.
This study may have focused on the mining industry, but it shows the dramatic difference optimum lighting can make.
With trips and falls accounting for 25% of major injuries sustained in warehousing, well-designed LED lighting has the potential to eliminate a large proportion of accidents. And it doesn’t just help workers see better, it helps them feel more comfortable and alert too.
Our LED lighting systems offer the perfect way to improve the safety of your workspace, and reduce the likelihood of injury.
Your employees are your biggest asset, and investing in their security and well-being will bring your business the highest rewards.
About the writer
Cédric joined Schréder in 2013 with a solid experience in marketing. With his expertise and industry knowledge, Cédric leads the Industry and Large Area Business segments including Sport Lighting and Breeam certification. He collaborates with our research, product development, sales teams worldwide and sport associations to deliver sustainable and energy efficient lighting solutions, tailored to each individual project using the latest in lighting calculation software, lighting management systems and BIM techniques.
Connect with Cédric on LinkedIn
1 - https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Accidents_at_work_statistics
2 - http://www.hse.gov.uk/humanfactors/topics/fatigue.htm
3 - https://www.uib.no/en/rg/sc/120922/effects-bright-light-intervention-adaptation-night-work-shift-work-simulation
4 - https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-192/