For construction sites to remain safe, it’s important that the site is well lit, either by natural or artificial light. So, in periods of insufficient light – particularly during winter when it’s dark by 4pm – a site must be fitted with suitable artificial lighting, which will help everyone working on the site itself; illuminate entry and circulation areas; and deter trespassers.
In fact, under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, an employer is legally required to provide adequate lighting so that all work can be undertaken safely and effectively, without jeopardising an employee’s health or eyesight. Here, Red Arrow explores the three things every construction site must consider with its lighting requirements…
Static vs flexible
Construction lighting can be arranged in a variety of ways to allow for the most efficient use. Whether that’s fixed to support poles, scaffolding and tower cranes or put on movable supports.
For many sites, some form of lighting needs to be flexible, allowing it to be arranged locally and where work is progressing. With connectable systems, such as festoon kits, this is simple. Easy to use in multiple runs, these are great for lighting up large areas temporarily – they can be disconnected when not in use, easily moved and reconnected when next in use. All without the need for rewiring the system.
Plug and play festoons can also be strung around areas you are working in and for illuminating general work areas, where they can be suspended from grids in regular spaces. Alternatively, uplights can provide good lighting levels that can be moved to where they’re needed.
Static lighting, on the other hand, might be more suitable for illuminating scaffolding for example, or shadow areas that can obscure hazards, such as machinery and equipment.
Red Arrow’s top tip: Uplights with shoulder straps, such as the ULS72YPW & ULE72YPW, allow for simpler handling and transportation.
Working in the dark comes with its own risks, particularly if a site doesn’t have good visibility. This can not only result in accidents, but it can also have a negative impact on contractors’ health and wellbeing, plus productivity.
To ensure the safety of everyone on site, it’s important to provide emergency lighting or automatic lights that come on as soon as other lighting is turned off. It’s also worth noting that emergency lighting doesn’t need to be bright, it just needs to illuminate emergency escape routes sufficiently should the primary light fail.
Fortunately, some products come equipped with emergency battery back-up built into the fitting, which are ideal in the event of power-outs on site.
Red Arrow top tip: A switchable feature can allow you to unplug certain lighting products – such as the Globe Light Emergency version – and carry them with you across site. In essence, switching the light to emergency mode, allowing you to see and move around safely.
When lighting any construction site, it’s important to keep light spillage to a minimum, particularly if it’s close to residential properties and busy roads. It’s also advisable to provide appropriate lighting around site boundaries where there is heavy footfall.
For external construction sites, floodlights are ideal for covering wide areas, and come with a range of options that are suitable for any works environment. For example, 110V yellow floodlights are ideal for illuminating large areas safely. Generally powerful and hardwearing, floodlights can provide uniform and stable directional lights, security lighting for the perimeter and rechargeable floodlights can also be used as portable torches.
Red Arrow’s top tip: Site lighting needs to be robust and rugged to withstand site applications – well-constructed LED products offer advantages over traditional site products that often use fragile lamps or tubes.