Construction Site Lighting Guide
Every part of a construction site should be set up to make the most of natural daylight during working hours. This enables people to be able to see what they’re doing and where they are going, improving safety.
The HSE states that where natural light is not possible, such as in winter, during overnight work, or in enclosed spaces, artificial light should be provided. This also applies to any shadowed areas, such as behind buildings, where light is limited at certain points in the day.
Artificial light will also be needed overnight, even if nobody is working on the site during these hours, as it can improve security.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974, it is a legal responsibility for employers to provide adequate lighting so that all work can be undertaken safely and effectively. Employee health and eyesight should not be put at risk.
Essentially, all sites will need some form of artificial lighting. But which you need, and how much you need, depends on so many factors. What are your working hours? How is your site laid out? What tasks are people conducting?
What are the legal requirements for lighting on site?
Lighting is a practical addition to a construction site. There aren't actually any legal requirements for it, though. But poor lighting can be a health and safety issue--and this is a topic requiring legal guidance.
So, the HSE have guidelines:
- When working outside daylight hours, artificial lighting is required.
- Lighting should be used in dark areas where there is a health and safety risk.
- Secondary artificial lighting should be planned should the primary lighting fail.
- Any emergency routes should be illuminated at all times, either naturally or artificially.
How to arrange temporary lighting on site
The areas requiring lighting when workers are on-site, whether natural or artificial, are:
- Main work areas
- Rest areas
- Emergency exits
You may want lighting overnight for security purposes, too. Basically, try to illuminate as much of your site as possible across the day, and potential theft or damage areas when nobody is on site.
Lighting should allow people to:
- Have a good level of visibility for the task at hand
- Recognise risks and dangers
- Decipher between colours (important for information signs)
- Meet their individual visibility requirements
- Move around the site safely, including in emergencies
However, lighting needs to be set up correctly. You cannot just pick the brightest lights and put them everywhere. Some things to consider include:
- Not causing glare, or being too bright for safe visibility
- Not creating big differences in lighting levels between different areas (as this can cause eyes to require a period of visibility adjustment)
- Positioning—they cannot cause a hazard, and need to be easy to access should they require maintenance or replacement
What level of lighting do I need on site?
HSE does not provide guidance on lux levels (unit of measurement of light level intensity) due to the varied nature of sites and their requirements. However, there are recommendations, according to the HSE HSG38 Lighting at Work guide.
Rough construction levels, such as areas where people, machinery and vehicles will be moving around, and excavation or clearance which isn’t detailed work, require a minimum of 20lx. 50lx is said to be the general provision you need to aim for.
Precise construction work, such as detailed tool use, a minimum of 100lx and aim of 200lx should be made. However, as again this is so varied, you really need to cater it to your individual site, area, and workers’ needs.
This probably means you need varying light across your site—most sites will certainly need the latter if working with power tools.
Types of Portable & Temporary Lighting for Sites
Whatever your lux levels required, one thing is for certain; you’re going to want your lighting to be eco-friendly. This will help with any green targets and will also actually use less power. Vital for something requiring potentially overnight use.
Here at Speedy, we offer a range of LED lighting. They’re 95% efficient (compared to as low as 5% for halogen bulbs), so use less energy. They can produce a ‘whiter’ light which helps with precise visibility and brightness, and they can last up to 11,000 hours, which is approximately 5x longer than halogen.
They can be more expensive to buy, but if you’re hiring your lighting from Speedy Services, this is a lot more economical. The much lower running costs will even this out.
1. Lighting Towers
Lighting towers are great for illuminating dark zones of your site, for example, open areas and those which need high security. They’re mobile, so really easy to position where required.
They are attached to masts and commonly use generators to power the lamps, so they’re reliable options if you need something which will provide light long-term.
Alternative options are now widely available too, which use solar, battery or halogen power. These are much more eco-friendly and reduce the level of fuel and wires required on-site.
Floodlights are broad-beamed and high-intensity. They’re commonly used to illuminate large outdoor areas when there is no natural light.
LED floodlights are the most common form. These have lower power consumption, longer lifespan, and start up instantly. This means they’re great for use on-site, as they’re cheap to run and don’t require a warm-up period which is great for safety.
3. Plasterer's Light
Plasterer’s lights are used right throughout the professional trade. They’re stick lights which can illuminate concentrated areas, such as zones where fine work will be carried out. It offers clean, shadow-free lighting so is also ideal for use indoors.
4. Festoon Lighting
Perfect for stringing along walkways or any other areas which need basic levels of light. Festoon lighting is commonly used for decorative requirements in a commercial or residential setting, but is easy to hang along any areas which require a boost.
This can also work as emergency lighting, to line an escape route.
IS THERE SITE LIGHTING HIRE NEAR ME?
So when you’re setting up your site, you can hire all of the products you need before you’re ready to start work.
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