It is important for those maintaining premises to know the ins and outs of adequate lighting.
Texas public and work spaces that are not well-lit can be dangerous for multiple reasons. People are more likely to slip and fall if they cannot clearly see where they are walking, and a poorly-lit exterior is a much more likely target for criminal activity. However, proper lighting is not as simple as just putting up a few light fixtures to cover an area. There are official standards to which lighting in any premise needs to adhere, and these involve such things as lumens level and placement of fixtures.
The General Services Administration has established some guidelines for proper lighting in public places. Lights should be placed with consideration of the glare produced, so as to protect the eyes of employees and other people. Proper glare reduction involves placing lights in ways that the illumined area is projected on walls or ceilings. Lighting should be uniform across all surfaces in a field of view, as too much contrast can cause visual discomfort.
If there is natural light provided through skylights or windows, businesses should ensure that there are measures in place to control the light when the sun rays are brightest. This may involve installing blinds, overhangs or fins to keep the glare out.
Maintain lighting regularly
Manufactured lighting should also be maintained regularly. If a component of a lighting system has failed, there are diagnostic models that can be used to determine how long it will take to replace the problematic part and why the failure occurred. The lifetime of a light source varies depending on the type used. Induction lighting can last for 100,000 hours. Lighting that uses LED bulbs can provide illumination for at least 50,000 hours. The lifetime of a fluorescent source of light varies, but it can range from 20,000 to 60,000 hours.
A foot-candle is a unit used to measure illumination. One foot-candle is equivalent to about one lumen per square foot. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has established the following guidelines for lighting in different kinds of work areas:
- In underground work areas such as shafts or tunnels, an illumination of five foot-candles is required.
- Hallways, corridors, warehouses and other indoor areas require five foot-candles.
- Lighting in an area for general construction must be at least five foot-candles.
- Electrical and mechanical equipment rooms, carpenter shops, screening plants, mess halls, batch plants, workrooms and indoor toilets should have 10 foot-candles.
- Refueling areas, waste areas, loading platforms and excavation sites must have three foot-candles of illumination.
Out of all the items on the above list, offices, infirmaries and first-aid stations require the most lighting, and should have at least thirty foot-candles.
If someone has been injured at a Mesquite workplace or in a public area because of poor lighting, they have a right to make a claim in pursuit of financial compensation. A lawyer who is skilled in premises liability cases may be helpful in such matters.