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Category “Health & Safety”

LED Lighting in Warehouses

We’ve entered a new era of warehouse lighting. Gone are the days of costly, inefficient installations. Today’s high-quality LED lighting is all about flexibility, energy efficiency, and lower maintenance costs. Because lighting can account for up to 80% of a warehouse’s energy bill, it’s critical that lighting be as efficient and cost effective as possible. With its long useful life and powerful, flexible options, LED-based lighting systems illuminate effectively from a height, deliver light on the both the vertical and horizontal planes for optimal visibility of racks and shelves, and virtually eliminate lamp replacement, which means fewer operational disruptions.

Keeping employees safe on the warehouse floor is critical. Highly uniform, inherently directional white LED lighting helps eliminate shadows and dark corners where accidents may occur. Flexible, easy-to-use lighting controls let you deliver the right levels of light where and when they are needed, increasing the efficiency and quality of operations. In the past, conventional lighting technology and lack of lighting controls meant that lighting had to be permanently on for safety. In 24/7 operations such as warehouses, this was costly to run and not sustainable. Now, we can put an end to those days – by delivering lighting ‘on-demand’.

Get the lighting just right and an amazing thing happens. The mood in the warehouse improves. Energy levels rise. And workers feel energised and comfortable, productivity flows. The environment benefits too. Presence-detectors ensure spaces are only fully lit when needed. Which means lower carbon emissions and lower energy bills. Win-win.

Take up of LED lighting has seen a rapid rise in the industrial sector as more and more companies reap the cost and energy saving benefits of the latest technology. Warehouses, with their high ceilings, large spaces and narrow aisles can be challenging spaces to light; what should you be aware of to ensure that the lighting is correct for your application?

Beware of glare

Keeping glare to a minimum is important in any workplace setting; eye strain, headaches and fatigue are potential side effects of light that dazzles. But in high risk environments such as warehouses where staff are operating machinery and looking up at high racks, a momentary loss of visibility caused by glare could lead to serious accidents.

In lighting products, glare is rated according to the Unified Glare Rating (UGR); choose products with a UGR of less than 19. Lens design is vitally important for both efficiency and glare-free operation; but the right option will vary depending on the particular application, from open area lenses to high racking lenses.

The importance of ‘colour temperature’

In warehouse environments, staff often work unsociable hours under artificial light. The ‘colour temperature’ of your lighting (which determines whether the lighting gives off a warm or cold appearance) can make a big difference to the look and feel of a space – and can even affect staff wellbeing and productivity.

An LED product’s colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K). 3500–4000K gives a comfortable, warm-white colour appearance and is a good option for spaces where staff are working for long periods of time.

Light distribution

Even light distribution is also a key health and safety consideration. The high ceilings and narrow aisles in warehouses mean that it’s particularly challenging for light to reach all areas, but the consequences of a dark or dimly lit workplace can cause serious accidents.  “Put simply: the easier it is to see a hazard, the easier it is to avoid it.”

Good product design as well as good installation is important here; choose a product that is designed to ensure precise optical control of the light distribution. A narrow beam angle will illuminate aisle spaces efficiently without any light wastage. Products with wide beam angles are best suited for open areas.

With the right product, ‘more illumination’ doesn’t mean ‘more energy’. UK tests have shown that LED lights provide extremely high illumination with excellent efficiency.

Take control

Lighting is only as good as the control; and the most efficient light is the one that is switched off. Using occupancy sensors to dim or switch off lighting when there is nobody in a room can reduce electricity use by 30%, according to the Carbon Trust. Daylight sensors (which adjust the artificial lighting according to the amount of natural light in a room) can reduce electricity use by up to 40%.

Some lights have a space within the centre of the luminaire for a sensor – eliminating the need for unsightly wiring. Various dimming options can also be incorporated, including remote programming from ground level via a smartphone.

Not all LEDs are made equal

Advancements in product research and development mean that LED technology is better than ever before – quality LED products now outperform the traditional metal halides and SONS usually found in industrial settings.

However, the rapid growth of the market has seen the sector flooded with new suppliers looking to ‘cash in’ on the trend. Some of these suppliers are less than scrupulous, and product quality can vary widely.

As well as asking for client references from your supplier, one way to tell whether a product will stand up to its claims is to ask about the components. At GA, we only use quality branded components and  will work with you to meet your lighting needs, helping to create an intuitive, fully capable, state-of-the-art lighting system.

We recently installed new warehouse LED lighting for our client, Wallingford based Rowse Honey, who are close neighbours of ours.

 

 

 

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Emergency Lighting Standard

Standards as per the Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting, Ref Code of Practice BS 5266 Part 1: 2011

Overall target of working to this standard

  • To indicate clearly and unambiguously the escape routes
  • To provide illumination along such routes to allow safe movements towards and through the exits provided to an evacuation point, which may be outside
  • To ensure that fire alarm call points and firefighting equipment provided along escape routes can be readily located
  • To permit operations directly concerned with safety measures
  • To ensure that luminaires provide sufficient level of light to enable occupants to use the escape routes safely

Emergency lighting shall be sited at all points of emphasis as listed below:

  • Each exit door intended to be used in an emergency
  • Within 2m of stairs
  • Within 2m of any other change in level
  • Mandatory emergency exits and safety signs
  • Each change of direction
  • Each intersection of corridors
  • Within 2m of each final exit and outside the building to a place of safety
  • Within 2m of first aid point or disabled refuge point
  • Within 2m of firefighting equipment, manual call point or fire alarm panel
  • Risk areas such as kitchens or chemical stores
  • Inside lift cars and over control / manual winding equipment
  • Over escalators and moving walkways
  • Any toilets larger than 8m2 or with no natural light
  • Within plant rooms, above electrical distribution equipment, lighting or generator control equipment etc.
  • Examination and treatment rooms

Escape routes should have a minimum lighting level of 1 Lux with the emergency lighting in operation.

emergency-lights-1

It is important that emergency lighting is illuminated if the normal lighting fails, as this might be a result of a total supply failure or my operation of the circuit protective device. Non-maintained lights must be controlled by the normal lighting supply, whereas maintained lights can be on their own final circuit.

emergency-lights-2

The escape route emergency lighting system in each room, area or route shall be from at least 2 luminaires, to ensure that failure of one luminaire does not plunge an area of the escape route into complete darkness, or make the directional finding effect useless.

Emergency Light Definitions

MAINTAINED EMERGENCY LUMINAIRE – A luminaire containing one or more lamps all of which operate from the normal supply or from the emergency supply

NON-MAINTAINED EMERGENCY LUMINAIRE – A luminaire containing one or more lamps, which operate from the emergency supply only upon failure of the normal mains

SELF-CONTAINED EMERGENCY LUMINAIRE – A luminaire or sign providing emergency lighting in which all the elements such as battery, lamp and control unit are contained within the housing

SLAVE OR CENTRALLY SUPPLIED LUMINAIRE – A luminaire without its own batteries designed to work with a central battery system and wiring within one metre of the luminaire

COMBINED EMERGENCY LUMINAIRE – A luminaire that contains 2 or more lamps, at least one of which is energised from the emergency supply and the remainder from the normal supply. The emergency lamp will either be maintained or non-maintained

Use of exit signs

Exit signs above a doorway used to indicate a safe escape route should be installed so as to indicate the direction of travel after you have used the doorway.

emergency-light-upIf the doorway escape route leads to a change in level upwards or remains on the same level then an up arrow is to be used.

If the doorway escape route leads to a change in level downwards then a down arrow is to be used.

Test records and frequency

Appropriate test records must be kept and be available for inspection if required by the fire authorities. It should contain a full record of both annual full duration and monthly functional tests. Any faults should be recorded together with any action needed to protect occupants until repairs are complete and also the action to get the repairs conducted.

  1. Annual full 3-hour duration test by competent person
  2. Monthly operation (flick) test by responsible person
  3. Details of safeguards for the premises while repairs are being completed
  4. Details of any faults and rectification information

It might be possible for some companies/maintenance contracts to request different testing intervals. BS 5266 Part 1 lists the intervals above and so we will carry out any testing as per this Approved Code of Practice.

 

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Testing Times? Do you know when your fixed wire testing is due?

electrical-testingFixed installation Testing or Periodic Inspection and Testing forms an important part of any Health & Safety system. Over 7% of all workplace fatalities were caused by contact with electricity or electrical discharge. The Electricity at Work Act, 1989 states that all electrical systems and equipment used in the working environment should be in a safe condition. The Health & Safety Executive recommend that in order to comply with the regulations an electrical inspection and testing programme should be undertaken at all places of work.

In addition to these legislative requirements many other organisations such as insurance companies place an obligation on their clients to carry out periodic electrical testing. It’s recommended that only companies who are registered with an electrical governing body such as the NICEIC or the ECA are contracted, as these registrations offer an assurance of the quality of work that will be performed. Only suitably qualified electricians should carry out electrical testing. The frequency at which fixed wire installation testing should be carried out is determined by the usage of a particular building, taking into account:

  • the type of installation
  • its use and operation
  • the frequency and quality of maintenance
  • the external influences to which it is subjected

The table below provides guidance on the frequency of formal inspections of electrical installations as well as routine checks.

testing-chart

Call us on 01491 835875 or email reception@galectricalandmechanical.co.uk for a free electrical survey and to book your next NICEIC approved test.

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Safety First, always, with Construction Site Temps

Ed Wood, Qualifying Supervisor at GA, explains all about Site Temps Wiring Standard

muddy-welliesThe electrical installation on a construction site is there to provide lighting and power to enable work to proceed. Those working on the site may be ankle deep in mud and using power tools, making them very susceptible to receiving a shock to earth. The supply on a building site must not use a TN-C-S (PME) earthing system. This is due to the difficulty in bonding all exposed metal work on a construction site. The possibility of creating a potential to earth in the event of a fault is extremely high. A TN-S supply can be used only if a TT supply is not feasible (for example a construction site in a penthouse ).

time-relay-rcdIn all other cases the supply will be converted (if an earth has been provided by the supplier) into a TT system using an earth stake and a 100mA time-delay RCD immediately after the meter. A high external earth loop impedance is therefore likely to be present and for this reason the RCD discrimination must be addressed in order to meet the maximum disconnection times of 0.2 seconds for final circuits up to 32A, and 1 second for all distribution circuits and final circuits over 32A.

All portable equipment on site should be supplied via a 110V transformer, with the secondary winding centre tapped to earth ensuring the maximum voltage to earth will not exceed 55V. The primary winding of the transformer must be protected by at least a 100mA RCD. The internal wiring of site cabins is not classed under these regulations as they will not change as construction progresses, and so are covered by the general requirements of BS7671. Plugs and sockets used to supply site equipment must be non-interchangeable to prevent misconnection.

The maximum period between inspections of electrical installations on construction sites is 3 months as shown in Guidance Note 3, table 3.2.

As shown here, any circuit supplying a socket outlet with a rated current up and including 32A and any circuit supplying hand-help equipment up to and including 32A must be either reduced low voltage, supplied by a 30mA RCD or be SELV or PELV.

Any socket outlet with a rated current over 32A should be protected by an RCD with an operating current not exceeding 500mA.

Cables should not be installed across a site road or walkway unless adequate protection against mechanical protection is provided. Appropriate flexible cable should be used for all portable equipment for use on reduced low voltage systems.

The device for isolating the incoming supply must be suitable for locking in the OFF position by padlock, or by its location inside a lockable enclosure. Simply isolating a protective device or removing a fuse is not adequate protection for safe isolation.

Reference BS 7671: 2008 Section 704 and Guidance Note 3

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