Warehouse Lighting Standards: Safe, Efficient, Optimized

When it comes to providing efficient warehouse lighting, it is important to go a step further than simply installing a few bulbs in random areas around the building. Proper lighting in warehouses provides adequate illumination for efficient operation and plays a vital role in preventing accidents, ensuring safety, increasing efficiency, and boosting productivity.

Before choosing lighting for your warehouse, it is important to remember that there are standards to keep in mind to ensure the production of a quality and reliable lighting system. Below, we provide the best practices to follow when installing warehouse lighting systems.

What Warehouse Lighting Level Is Best?

The best warehouse lighting levels depend on various factors, such as size and items being stored. This lighting level is typically measured using lux, a standardised unit of measurement of light level intensity. 1 measurement of lux is equal to the illumination of a one-meter square surface. For an open warehouse, a lighting level of 100-150 Lux is adequate at floor level, while 200 lux will suffice in areas where there is racking. While these are the recommended lighting levels, many warehouses often choose to aim above these recommendations.

OSHA Requirements For Lighting

Lighting is important for preventing occupational hazards, which is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put several guidelines and standards for warehouse lighting. These standards cover everything from recommended lighting levels to other key considerations. They include:

  • Warehouses, walkways, and exits must be illuminated to a minimum of 10-foot candles (FC) or 110 lux.
  • Warehouse loading bays should have 300-400 lux of illumination.
  • Warehouse aisles should have 100-200 lux of illumination.
  • All light fixtures must have protective plates or guards to prevent shattering.
  • Light fixtures must be mounted at least 7 feet above work surfaces or have an OSHA-compliant shatterproof shield.
  • Fixtures cannot have any exposed live parts or openings large enough for fingers.
  • Fixtures must be firmly mounted to the wall or ceiling.

What Type of Lighting Is Best For Warehouses?

LED lights are generally the best type of lighting for illuminating your warehouses. However, they come in different types that are used depending on the areas where they are to be placed.

warehouse lighting
High bay LED Warehouse lighting

High bay LED lights are the ideal choice for large open areas in warehouses with ceiling heights of 20 feet or higher. They provide powerful, focused illumination that can cover wide areas evenly and eliminate shadows. These lights are designed for high ceilings with specialized reflectors/lenses for broad light distribution, offer high lumen output for bright and uniform illumination, and are energy efficient.

There are also Linear LED fixtures that are well-suited for aisles, workbenches, and assembly areas in warehouses. They cast an even, wide beam of light into narrow spaces to enhance visibility. This type of LED light is versatile, has low heat output, and is energy efficient.

For areas with ceiling heights under 20 feet, such as offices or storage rooms, low-bay LED lights provide ample illumination. They are natural and, easy on the eyes, and equally energy efficient.

Key takeaway: LED lights are the best choice for warehouse lighting due to their efficiency and versatility. High bay LEDs are ideal for high ceilings, Linear LEDs suit aisles and workbenches, and low-bay LEDs are perfect for lower ceilings in offices and storage rooms. Each type ensures bright, uniform illumination while being energy-efficient.

What Are The Industry Standards For Lighting Levels?

Industry standards for lighting levels typically vary with the place where the lights are to be used. Typically, work areas are recommended with a lighting level of about 160 lux. Access areas, walkways, and stair lighting typically require around 40 lux. Other industry lighting requirements call for 540 lux in inspection areas, 220 lux in work areas, and 110 lux in other areas such as storage areas or warehouses.

How Bright Should A Warehouse Be?

Besides Lux, there are other units used to measure lighting when it comes to warehouses. This unit is known as ‘Lumen”.

A lumen is a unit that measures the total amount of visible light emitted by a source. It quantifies the brightness or light output of a lamp or light bulb. Lumens indicate the total light output in all directions from a source, whereas lux measures the intensity of light hitting a surface area. These are important factors to be considered in warehouse lighting.

As expected, the size of the warehouse, the products stored, and the method of storage are important factors to consider. For warehouses that handle large items, the ideal lumen requirement is around 10 lumens per square foot. In warehouses that store and handle smaller items, the number of lumens used is around 30 lumens per square foot. Additionally, aisles in warehouses should use an approximate 20 lumens per square foot. Essentially, like the lux, the amount of lumens needed in a warehouse varies with several factors.

What Is The Minimum Lighting Levels For Warehouses

According to the OSHA requirements, the minimum lighting level for warehouse lighting and walkways is 10-foot candles (FC) or approximately 110 lux. Sometimes, 100 lux is referred to as the minimum acceptable lighting in any warehouse. However, it is important to note that while 100 lux might be the absolute minimum accepted lighting, OSHA and industry guidelines recommend higher illumination levels of 100-400 lux for specific tasks like loading/unloading, aisle navigation, order picking, etc., to ensure worker safety and productivity.

Hence, when it comes to outfitting your warehouse lighting, it is important to choose the right lighting, most specifically, the right LED lights. Choosing the right LED light from National LED ensures your warehouse continues to adhere to industry lighting standards, helping workers perform efficiently while reducing hazards and saving energy costs.

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