What is illumination?

Illumination is a general term used in occupational safety and health to describe units of light which are often represented in foot candles (abbreviated as; fc, lm/ft2, or ft-c). One foot candle (fc) is equal to one lumen per square foot or 10.764 lux.

What hazards are associated with inadequate illumination?

Inadequate illumination at temporary and permanent work sites is very common and accounts for a significant percentage of slips, trips and falls on the job. Here are some common hazards presented by low lit / low illuminated areas.

1. Outside slips, trips and falls on permanent ground fixtures such as parking blocks or uneven surfaces
2. Inside slips, trips and falls from not seeing obstructions on or near walking and working surfaces
3. Accidental contact with electrical parts or energy sources
4. Accidental contact with rotating or moving machinery
5. Accidental contact with dangerous insects, rodents and snakes
6. Accidental contact with support systems which result in falling equipment or material

What controls may be used to protect yourself from low illumination?

1. Never enter work areas without proper illumination
2. Use tools such as flashlights or lamps when illumination is too low to perform work safely
3. Report low illumination areas to site owners or lead contractors immediately if they present a hazard
4. Perform work in low lit areas during the day time if it will improve illumination
5. Work in groups of two or more if it will reduce the risk of occupational injury in low lit environments

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