If you work in construction, landscaping, building, or production, you are probably already quite familiar with OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration. They are a government agency that is dedicated to work place safety. A lot of the time, their regulations have to do with dangerous substances, hours worked, and the following of safety protocols. But did you know that they also have recommendations for lighting safety — especially when it comes to doing construction work at night.
The regulations provided by OSHA are actually derived from standards originally set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), but they are meant to protect workers from unsafe conditions and inadequate construction work lights.
Level I Illumination for nighttime construction sites is recommended for all work operations areas; setup of lane or road closures, lane closure tapers, and flagging stations. This level is great for situations in which the workers are moving around a lot, and especially when the tasks require low accuracy, like slow moving equipment or when large objects are seen. This level requires five-foot candles of average maintained illuminance.
Level II Illumination for construction sites is recommended for areas on or around construction equipment, asphalt paving, milling, and concrete placement/removal. This is recommended for areas around construction equipment to provide a safer environment in areas requiring medium levels of accuracy. This illuminance requires 10-foot candles.
Level III Illumination Level for Construction Sites is recommended for pavement or structural crack/pothole filling; joint repair, pavement patching/repairs; and the installation of signal/electrical/mechanical equipment. Very difficult or precise tasks should be performed at this level using 20-foot candles.
Even though many sites use temporary construction lighting, that shouldn’t mean that these lighting levels from OSHA should be discounted. They are standards for a reason, and have been proven to improve safety and even save lives in particularly hazardous situations. Make sure your portable light towers, portable lighting, and other construction lights are appropriate for the site on which you are working.
Make working at night just as safe as working during the day!