Lighting is critically important for everyday operations within a warehouse. Proper lighting facilitates an increase in worker efficiency, as well as a significant rise in safety among employees that are working on the floor. To ensure the continued success of your warehouse as well as preserving the wellbeing of workers, you need to know the best ways to light up your warehouse in the most optimal manner possible.
Choosing the wrong light fixtures or installing inadequate bulbs may cause more problems than they will solve. Having knowledge of what will work and what will be a waste of money will benefit everyone involved.
The Dangers of Inadequate Light
To begin, you must understand the dangers of having limited light sources or inappropriate fixtures. They can hamper visibility which can make navigation of the warehouse difficult and potentially dangerous. These situations can result in work-related injuries that can otherwise be avoided with the proper lighting installed.
The most common issue your employees may experience is the inability to avoid tripping hazards. There can be many items placed on or running along the warehouse floor, whether those be boxes, tools, outcroppings, or wires. These all pose a threat to their wellbeing and are mainly a threat in areas that are not well lit. Do not underestimate the danger of same-level trips because they can cause significant bodily harm if a worker were to land in the wrong way.
Beyond walking, workers’ ability to safely operate vehicles, such as forklifts or electronic pallet jacks, is significantly reduced in low visibility environments. A driver needs to see where they are going, and that means seeing all the potential obstacles in their way. In the case of a forklift, they are driving something equivalent in weight to a car, and inadequate lighting can lead to drivers accidentally colliding with a pallet rack, which can cause them to collapse.
Take Note of What You Already Have
Inspect your warehouse to see the lighting situation of various locations and make a note of where the lighting is poor and where it does not need improvement. This preliminary inspection will help you narrow down the problem areas to have a more focused effort.
Sometimes You Just Need To Rearrange What You Have
Take stock of the light fixtures you have and determine if they will be adequate enough if you changed their layout; You can have the right lights in the wrong areas. Check to see if new lights are even necessary because it may be a faster and less expensive option to move around your current setup.
Consider Your Warehouse Design
After inspection, you must look at the details of your warehouse that will affect your lighting. Make a note of any windows that allow natural light to pour through; you may need less artificial lighting in that area during the day than most other places in your warehouse. Or there may be corridors and walkways where general lighting cannot reach; for times like that, you may need to look into more specific and directed light sources.
Can You Benefit From Sensors?
There will be areas in your warehouse that are significantly less traveled than other areas, yet these spaces still need adequate lighting. For areas that do not need to be lit up during the entirety of working hours, consider installing motion sensors to optimize energy efficiency.
Choose the Correct Fixtures
Measure the different heights of your ceiling; some areas may hang lower than others, which will dictate how powerful your bulbs need to be and what fixtures to install. For example, if your ceiling is between 20 and 45 feet, then you will have to invest in LED linear high bay fixtures in order to adequately illuminate an area.
Double-Check What Fixture You Need
Because of how they are designed, if you were to use a high bay fixture when your ceiling is less than 20 feet, then you run the risk of installing light that is too intense for the area they are in. They can potentially interfere with the sight of workers, which will be just as bad as having a light that is too limited or weak.
Think About the Color of the Lights
Light color can be a subtle yet effective way of either increasing or decreasing productivity in the warehouse. The color of lights can affect perception and visibility just as much as light intensity, and the wrong lights can negatively impact worker productivity. Install lights that have a cool and even color, something that is easy on the eyes and will not cause strain on sight. Cool lighting will improve visibility and will allow workers to identify inventory.
Choose the Best Lights for the Long Term
Your light fixtures will need to be reliable over an extended period of time to ensure that no failures jeopardize work operations. Once a light burns out, then that area will have decreased lighting, potentially slowing down or halting work altogether in that area until it is fixed.
Consider LED Lighting
LED lights have the longest lifespan of any other light source with an average life expectancy of around 50,000 hours, but LEDs also have the added benefit of not burning out completely at the end of its life. Because of their design, LEDs slowly dim once they reach their 50,000-hour mark, serving as a warning that they need to be replaced. This will give you time to switch them out at a time that is convenient for you while they can still illuminate areas until they are changed.
Do Not Hesitate To Change
Even after you have inspected your warehouse and installed new lighting, ask employees if the new setup is an improvement over the last or if more changes should be made. Oftentimes, your workers will be able to gauge the effectiveness of lights due to their constant work on the floor, and they can provide advice on how to best light up the warehouse. Making changes and refusing to add further improvements will defeat the whole purpose of enhancing your light setup.