When planning an industrial painting project, you’ll be focused on appropriate cost estimation, ensuring you have the equipment you need and the manpower to prep and get the paint on the walls, but how much time do you spend thinking about illumination? Stepping into a space and simply flipping on the light switches will rarely provide adequate lighting to do your work well. Today we’ll take a look at illumination standards and why they’re so important for your work.
#1 Good lighting allows for better surface preparation
Lighting for painting projects under bridges, in industrial tanks and other areas that have no natural light and no installed artificial lights can present even more of a challenge. When preparing surfaces with sanding or blasting equipment, large amounts of dust can result, which will further impair visibility and must be compensated for when planning illumination for your project. Inadequate lighting can make it hard to discern imperfections and areas that need additional prep work.
#2 Good lighting allows proper coating application
In order for coatings to be applied properly and in the thickness required per your contract, or the industry or safety standard for a specific type of facility, your painters need to be able to clearly see their work and be able to inspect for areas that need additional application. Illumination is measured in foot candles and for general work areas, 10 foot candles are required, but 20 are recommended. When preparing your painting surface and applying coatings, 20 foot candles are required, but 50 are recommended. For inspection work, the standard is even higher at 50 required and 200 recommended.
#3 Good lighting enhances worker productivity
Lighting is an ergonomics issue that will impact your workers. Ergonomics is the study of efficiency at work. A recent study at Cornell University showed that workers exposed to inadequate lighting or excessively bright lighting were more stressed and drowsier on the job than those working under appropriate lighting conditions for the job. A happy worker is a productive worker, so ensuring there’s apt illumination can save you money because work gets done at a reasonable pace.
#4 Good lighting improves worker safety
Insufficient lighting puts workers at risk, particularly when painting at higher levels or where there are spaces you can fall into. Slip and falls, losing footing, falling from ladders and other accidents can occur when the work area is not properly lit. And lights angled to shine into worker’s eyes can be just as dangerous because it can obscure vision and cause workers to lose their footing, drop equipment, etc. Failing to provide adequate lighting puts you at risk for a lawsuit in case of worker accidents.
#5 Good lighting improves site safety
In addition to worries about accidents from improper lighting, there are concerns about the types of lighting you can use on hazardous work sites. Locations where there is flammable gas, flammable vapors, combustible dust or ignitible fibers must be equipped with explosion-proof lighting that complies with NFPA 70E electrical safety standards. For non-hazardous locations where portable lights are used, they must comply with UL 298. For wet locations, UL 1598 applies.
To read for yourself exactly what OSHA law requires, click here to read 1926.56 and click here to read 1926.26 Illumination Standards. For additional guidelines, click here to purchase and download the Illumination Guide for Industrial Painting Projects direct from the Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC).
For more tips and tools to help improve your painting company, click here.