Reducing rework and increasing productivity may have as much or more to do with your facility’s lighting than anything else. Let’s review the problems glare and eye strain from improper lighting may be causing you, and what to do about it.
Glare and Eyestrain Are Hidden Drags on Productivity
Making working hours easier for your employees is always a smart decision. But even from a strictly bottom-line perspective, eliminating glare and eyestrain will save money and increase productivity.
When we discuss glare, we not only mean bright reflections, but also over lighting of the workspace. Too much light means suboptimal vision, and that can lead to mistakes and rework that would be avoided in optimal lighting.
Eyestrain, meanwhile, is usually a result of poor lighting and can damage productivity by leading to even more mistakes as well as causing headaches and other minor health problems. Thirty percent of American employees report headaches due to eyestrain, and frequent discomfort will affect output and morale. It can also increase absenteeism.
Eliminating Glare and Optimizing Your Lighting
Begin by addressing the overall lighting in your facility. Most workplaces have lighting at least twice as bright as OSHA recommends. Many business facilities use high output overhead lighting and overly simple lighting design that leads to unnecessary brightness at the production line level.
If you have this problem, reduce the overall brightness and employ task and accent lighting. This gives workers softer illumination, and control over how much light to use. This is a case where less truly is more and giving workers the ability to adapt lighting to their needs will pay off in the long run with better results and possibly some total energy savings.
Another best practice is to make sure that all lighting is from LED’s in the cool white color range, a color temperature of 4000 to 5000K. This range is the best for closeup detail work, and LED’s will use less energy and last longer than incandescent or fluorescent lights. They are also more durable, an important consideration in manufacturing environments that can be tough on conventional bulbs and fluorescent tubes. Changing your overhead lighting to LED’s can be a major savings by itself because of the long spans between light bulb changes.
It’s worth noting an additional benefit of using cool white lighting: It has the same effect on circadian rhythm as daylight. Studies show that workers exposed to either natural daylight or artificial light of the same wavelength have higher alertness and productivity, and better sleep.
Next, take a careful look at how much light the surfaces in your facility reflect, looking for glare hotspots. In facilities where natural light from windows is a factor, evaluate it at various times of day. You may be surprised how many of them are producing bright reflections, and how much a change in position or lighting design can do to eliminate that glare. You can also eliminate many hotspots by using matte paint, coatings and surfaces wherever possible.
Finally, consider using advanced lighting control systems to optimize how lighting is used, especially if your facility uses natural lighting for part of the day. By optimizing how much of your overhead lighting is in use at a given time, you can create the best possible production environment, save money, and care for your most important asset, your workforce.
Need a local partner to help? We’d like you to consider Thayer Energy Solutions. We have decades of experience with LED’s, design, controls, and installation, and are right here in your region. Get in touch with us today at 815-282-1112 and let’s see what we can do together!