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Friday, 15 November 2013 10:49

Let there be light

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Car parks can use LED like these onesCar parks can use LED like these onesBefore the Industrial Revolution, day light hours for the most part defined the working day. Today we work long after sunset. The onset of the Industrial Revolution and the invention of electricity provided the advancement needed for  good lighting and this in no small part contributed to increased productivity from the new industrial machines.

Good Lighting in any work place is the key to optimum performance. How often do you think of the lights in the work place? A poorly illuminated work place is an environment that is ripe for errors and some of these errors can create an unsafe work place.

Is the root cause of the near miss the sales rep driving without due care and attention or the fact that every second car park light is out of order?
Is the root cause of the near miss due to the fact the regional sales manager delayed the sales rep?
Is the root cause the fault of the maintenance manager who failed to repair the lights or the MD who failed to put a budget in place to replace the lights and ensure the maintenance manager did his job?
If there was a fatality as opposed to a near miss I am sure the Company Managing Director would have a lot of questions to answer?
Can you point to a maintenance schedule for repair of lights, or for a light survey to detect the level of light in the car park?

Car Park

As winter approaches and darkness falls upon us before the working day is done how many managers have noted the lights in the car park. Do they work; are all the bulbs intact from last winter?

A poorly illuminated car park that has both vehicle traffic and pedestrians presents a dangerous mix on a wet winters evening. A sales rep rushing home from a late business meeting out of the car park almost clips the warehouse operative. Is the root cause of the near miss the sales rep driving without due care and attention or the fact that every second car park light is out of order? Is the root cause of the near miss due to the fact the regional sales manager delayed the sales rep? Is the root cause the fault of the maintenance manager who failed to repair the lights or the MD who failed to put a budget in place to replace the lights and ensure the maintenance manager did his job? If there was a fatality as opposed to a near miss I am sure the Company Managing Director would have a lot of questions to answer? Can you point to a maintenance schedule for repair of lights, or for a light survey to detect the level of light in the car park? This could be as simple as the electrician looking up and noting the lights that need new bulbs and replacing the bulbs.

Ask yourself another question.  If the van in the car park was a delivery van in the season of good will sweeping in to a car park like there was no tomorrow, would the van driver have seen the warehouse operative or the secretary rushing out of the office?

The majority of sales rep will know their own car park and this could be the difference between a fatality and a near miss. A van driver that is not so sure of a car park layout or the times a secretary leaves the office may not have that good fortune on their side.

A poorly illuminated car park on a dark winter’s night also presents other dangers that are as simple as a ‘slip or a trip or a fall’. These unexpected accidents can lead to staff incurring an injury that leads to days lost at work or even a claim for negligence against the company. Good lighting is essential to promote worker visibility and improve safety.

Summary

Managers and owners have a variety of options when spending their winter budget and a lot of thought is given to ice and snow and the use of salt on the footpaths.

This winter look up - look up at the lighting in the car park and think about the lighting system for the environment.  There is no need for a detailed survey, simply ask yourself, would the courier van driver see me in a dark over coat?

A uniformly illuminated environment will not only promote worker safety but will prevent accidents such as slips, trips or falls which account for some of the more common accidents that occur in the  work place. More importantly, good lighting can prevent a more serious accident involving a vehicle.

Let there be light because you cannot turn back time and repair the lights after the event.

Read 3190 times Last modified on Friday, 15 November 2013 12:17
Richard D'Arcy

Richard has an MSc in Health and Safety Management and has over 20 years’ experience in implementing Environmental Management, Health & Safety Systems and Quality Management Systems both in Ireland and the UK. 

As an Environmental Health & Safety Manager, he managed large and small environmental projects. An example of one involved reducing the spend on an Odour abatement plant from €1.3m to €700k. 

Richard has managed many safety projects and an example of a safety project is an €8m investment in plant and equipment that automated a production process to reduce unsafe exposure to employees and assisted the attainment of increased production orders for the company.

He is also highly experienced at dealing with legal issues, courts and regulatory authorities, in addition to securing grant aid for manufacturing.

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