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Adequate lighting in industrial contexts is an important factor in ensuring quality construction standards as well as worker safety. Standards vary according to the setting and type of application, and are set by government agencies based on industrial standards. Regulation of workplace safety issues in general fall under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA considers many standards and recommendations from other agencies, including ANSI (American National Standards Institute), when creating requirements for industrial lighting.
According to OSHA, original regulations for industrial lighting were guided by "(ANS) A11.1-1965, R1970, Practices of Industrial Lighting." This regulation was developed in cooperation with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and served as a guideline for employers in helping them determine proper lighting conditions to ensure worker safety and health. This regulation has since been revised, and in order to be in compliance with OSHA regulations, employers must meet ANSI/IES-RP-7-1991 standards.
What the Requirements Mean
The amount and type of light required by OSHA and the ANSI standards vary depending upon the application. The lighting design specifications for an enclosed space such as a warehouse may be very different from those of an exterior space such as a highway repair project. For example, warehouse lighting designs need to be made in consultation with ANSI/IESNA Recommended Practice for Lighting Industrial Facilities RP-7-01. Such guidelines help a designer address the different lighting conditions of different sections of a warehouse, such as overheard lighting needed on loading docks and extra lighting required for reading in Shipping and Receiving for example.
Outdoor industries such as shipyards have unique safety challenges that lighting must help address. Shipyards in particular are governed by A11.1-1973, Practice for Industrial Lighting, ANSI Standard. This standard, aimed primarily at ensuring worker safety, requires that walkways and work areas be well lit as defined by the ANSI standard. Also, emergency lighting must be provided in case of a primary lighting system failure. Finally, given the water-rich environment of a shipyard, lighting must be located in areas where it poses no risk of worker electrocution, per ANSI standards.
Susan Deily-Swearingen has been writing since 2005. She blogs at The Huffington Post and has contributed to "The Pensacola News Journal," "The Newburyport Daily News" and "The Town Common." Deily-Swearingen holds a Master of Arts in academic theater from Brown University.