Even though the United States is only home to 4% of the world’s population, we make up about 10% of the global construction market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 7.8 million Americans working in the construction industry today. Even while other industries and manufacturing jobs have moved offshore, there’s always a demand for capable construction workers.
Yet as with any industry of its size, construction workers are subject to a tangled web of regulations and workplace safety rules. OSHA puts forth updated standards all the time, and some of the most important protections involve safe lighting. While that might sound like a simple thing for organizations to provide, it’s a little more complicated than simply buying lights, plugging them in, and shouting, “Let there be light!”
Here is a short guide to the four basic types of lighting equipment used on construction sites today.
Lighting towers are the most commonly used form of construction lighting equipment, as they provide quality illumination for a large area. They are typically equipped with a generator, a retractable mast, and anywhere from two to six lighting fixtures attached at the top of the mast structure. The masts can reach up to 30 feet and be rotated 360 degrees, allowing for maximum versatility and light coverage.
Recently, these towers have been reinvented in the form of solar, portable light towers. Not only do solar light towers not require generators, but they make it possible to move light sources quickly. These solar-powered portable lights offer up to 36 hours of continuous use, and keep gasoline fumes out of the workplace.
Balloon lighting is typically used on construction sites as equipment-mounted lighting or in stationary locations. These types of lights are particularly useful in flagger locations, where the people working need to be clearly visible. The lights have fabric covers that are inflated with helium or air and can be mounted on stands.
This is a relatively new form of construction lighting that was recently tested and approved for use on construction sites. This type of portable lighting is composed of 400-watt metal halide lamp that is covered with a light-diffusing material to provide a softer light to construction sites.
This type of equipment, rather than being temporary construction lighting, serves as a semi-permanent fixture on a work site. These lighting fixtures are composed of luminaires mounted on high-mast poles, which provides excellent lighting for construction workers. OSHA standards mandate that level I illumination is required for all work areas, and this light fulfills that requirement.
The construction industry uses a combination of permanent and portable lights to provide adequate visibility to their work areas, and these four types of equipment are the ones they trust the most to get the job done.