Why are workplace lighting levels important?

What are the legislative requirements concerning lighting in the workplace?
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations state that every workplace shall have suitable and sufficient lighting and that, so far as is reasonably practical, this lighting shall be by natural light. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations state that any room lighting or task lighting provided shall ensure satisfactory light conditions and an appropriate contrast between the screen and background, taking into account the type of work and the vision requirements of the user.

Furthermore, possible glare and reflections on the screen shall be prevented by co-ordinating workplace and workstation layouts with the positioning of the artificial light sources.

What guidance exists on lighting in the workplace?
There are several guidance documents which give further information on workplace lighting, especially for VDUs.  These include the guide issued by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE):

LG07/15 Lighting Guide 07: offices - LG7. This superceded the original guide LG3, which has now been withdrawn.

In addition to the guidance produced by the CIBSE, HSE produce a guide called Lighting at work HS (G) 38.  This documentation recommends an average lighting level of 500 lux (minimum 200 lux) for work which requires perception of fine detail. An office area should be between 300 to 500 lux.

This guide is of a general nature; specific advice can be obtained from Assurity Consulting. Assurity Consulting is the UK's leading independent compliance consultancy specialising in workplace health, safety and environmental solutions. We have over 30 years' experience of helping customers of all sizes, from across all sectors, manage their compliance responsibilities, making sure that their organisation is compliant, their employees are safe, their processes are cost effective and their management team is in control.

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