Good lighting can help us recognise hazards in the workplace. In addition, it can reduce the likelihood of pain and tiredness of the eyes, which is important for many work activities. Natural light is the best form of lighting and should be provided wherever reasonably practicable.

The key safety issues with lighting in the workplace are:

  • too little or too much light
  • glare and reflections – areas where the light is too bright or where reflections cause problems can lead to misperceptions and mistakes. These are particular concerns where there are ‘high-gloss’ surrounds or finishes on machinery
  • shadows in safety-critical places, such as across an entrance or near steps. Shadows are usually caused by badly-positioned lighting and/or by objects being in the way of natural light sources such as windows or skylights. If you can’t see key controls or the work piece itself, there’s a greater risk of injury
  • significant differences in lighting levels between areas (for example, where you can’t see the traffic when you go outside on a bright day from a dimly-lit room)
  • providing extra lighting to do the job safely – people are more productive when they can see properly.

Your employer will ensure to consider these issues when carrying out the workplace risk assessments. 

You should discuss any concerns about workplace lighting with your supervisor or manager.