How can we properly equip construction sites with lighting to maximise the winter working day? Adrian Fowler, MD at Building Services Supplier MIDFIX explains.
In the construction industry, when work is time-sensitive and labour-intensive, the limited natural light in the winter months can pose a real issue. If there is insufficient light, this can lead to accidents. On the contrary, if there is too much glare from artificial lighting, workers can suffer from headaches and fatigue. Along with safety issues, limited light can lead to increased spillages and risk of damages, plus lengthening the total amount of time it takes for the completion of work.
UK guidelines state that construction workers are only legally allowed to work between the hours of 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. Yet, if site workers are unable to set-up by 8am and to work properly after 4pm, that’s potentially up to three hours per day that could be lost per worker. How can we properly equip construction sites with lighting to enable workers to maximise the winter working day?
In an effort to brighten a site through the use of artificial lighting, it’s easy to cause too much glare. Site workers must have lighting that’s long-lasting, dimmable, doesn’t compromise on safety and enables them to work effectively – step forward LED.
Lighten up with LED
Site managers not already using LED lighting should definitely be considering it to cover various areas such as entrances, exits, stairways and walkways. LED which uses diffuser technology can enable a non-dazzling light, and further diminishes the risk of glare on-site by having dimming capabilities by operating on any percentage of power, to enable high-quality accuracy.
The climate change issues we find ourselves facing are also supported by LED, as the eco-friendliest lighting on the market today. An added benefit is that LEDs have a much longer lifespan – one light bulb is projected to last up to 25,000 hours, compared to just 1,200 hours for an electric light bulb.
Handheld and minipod LED lights without leads are highly convenient as they last for more than two hours on full charge. Desirable for site workers, some pocket-sized lights can give out an exceptional 110 lumens of light for up to two and a half hours, still on maximum setting, improving productivity as they don’t have to keep recharging or fetch new lights. This tactic can especially benefit workers in the winter, with two hours of maximum quality light between the critical hours of 4 and 6pm.
Head lights and torches are a common culprit of glare, as the long-distance beam can reflect poorly and dazzle nearby construction workers. With the right LED head torch, it allows for close working due to a controlled, focusable light from flood to spot and up to 20 hours run time. With the added benefit of being hands-free, professional LED head torches can substantially enhance a worker’s safety.
Establish the correct site light for use depending on the area, for instance, in general working areas, LED festoon lighting is the most appropriate and walkways are often brightened by bulkhead lamps. LED abolishes the many cons of traditional methods along with being much more similar to daylight. Issues such as short life expectancy, high running costs, bad quality and high energy consumptions are worries of the past, as LED continues to transform the lighting industry.
LED lighting towers
Smarter and with an A* in energy efficiency, LED is the clear frontrunner for future lighting, especially in the Internet of Things era. LED site lighting towers can take it one step further for construction workers in dark conditions. Well-suited to industrial and outdoors sites and performing for up to 50,000 hours, LED towers save even more costs and carbon, maximising light coverage but minimising waste for a standard 10-hour shift. Ideal for all on-site needs in industrial environments, LED towers enable an even more productive site, with the added benefit of removing the need to replace bulbs, lamp glass and other equipment which would usually eat into valuable working time on-site.
Despite there being less daylight during the winter months, if you plan correctly, utilise LED and take precautions, deadlines can be met without compromising safety or quality.