Stephen Biggs, Technical Manager at Tamlite Lighting, explains how smarter lighting can change warehouse and industrial buildings for the benefit of employees as the sector experiences unprecedented growth.
The warehouse and storage sector is experiencing growth like never before. During the UK lockdown, there was a 129% boom in online shopping as consumers were rapidly required to shop online. As ‘e-tailers’ and traditional merchants ramp up their internet businesses, demand for warehouse space is surging to record levels.
As the sector grows, so too will the number of people employed in warehouse operations. As of 2018, a yearly average of 188,000 people were employed by warehouse and storage facilities in the UK. With warehouses and industrial buildings being amongst the most hazardous environments to work in, the emphasis is firmly with employers to ensure personnel safety. And lighting can play a key role in achieving this, yet sadly it can often be over looked as a solution.
When you consider that people receive about 85% of their information through their sense of sight, it’s not hard to understand the need for well-designed lighting schemes in warehouses.
In fact, if you need further proof, the World Green Building Council has linked improved lighting design with up to a 23% gain in productivity. However the reality is that these buildings are often lit with too much artificial lighting, and whilst lighting accounts for over 40% of a site’s electricity bill, money is often wasted on poorly-designed systems.
Creating a more comfortable working environment will go a long way in enabling employees to perform at their best. Today’s technology is not only highly efficient, it also offers a vast array of possibilities; there are products to suit every location and task. This can significantly improve operatives’ alertness resulting in greater accuracy, boosted performance and productivity, and enhanced general wellbeing.
Whilst some organisations may be swayed by lighting solutions that offer the best financial savings, there is far more to consider. These are outlined in guidance set out by the Health and Safety Executive: “The assessment and management of risks attributable to poor lighting; what constitutes good practice; and the minimum recommended levels.”
Specifying the wrong fixtures will create hazardous conditions for employees. The benefits of investing in high-quality and durable systems that provide the right light at the right time are clear, generating measurable improvements in wellbeing and productivity for workers.
So what are the considerations of designing lighting in an industrial setting?
1. The right light, in the right place
Industrial buildings often have multiple operations under one roof. It is vitally important that lighting is designed to meet the requirements of any particular task. Overall, warehouses require uniform illumination, but it is the placement of lighting that is all important. There shouldn’t be any pockets of shadow or glare; both of which can make it difficult for workers to see any potential hazards. Having the right lighting design will ensure that the light is directed where it needs to be.
2. Let’s talk about light levels
With LED lighting it is possible to be much more precise and targeted with the levels of light needed for specific tasks. For example, employees who are required to read labels will appreciate the vertical light distribution provided by LED high bays, whilst luminaires with a high Colour Rendering Index (CRI) can be particularly beneficial in areas lacking natural daylight.
3. Take control
The benefits of modern lighting moves up a gear when used in conjunction with motion sensors and overarching control systems. These make it possible to use and direct light where and when it is required. In areas which are infrequently used, the goal is to ensure that the lights are only activated when movement is detected.
At Tamlite, we specialise in lighting for warehouse and industrial spaces and we know how to deliver the right light for every type of task. Our EXPO lighting provides a perfect example of how this can be achieved. Whilst it is suitable for mounting up to 20 metres in high bay areas, it can be used in low bay areas. Whether it’s a large, ‘open’ distribution centre, a pick and pack unit or a communal area, we offer a range of technologies that are proven to deliver a powerful combination of operational efficiency and personal wellbeing.
It certainly pays to improve the safety of industrial buildings by investing in modern lighting systems. When visual comfort is enhanced, workers are not only safer, they are able to go about their work in a way that ensures accuracy and ultimately, productivity. No business can afford to compromise on the health and safety of its workforce – and lighting is the perfect place to make positive changes.