The importance of adequate lighting on construction, building and industrial sites

The Heath and Safety Executive states the following regarding Site Lighting

Every part of a construction site that is in use should, as far as possible, be arranged so that natural light is available for people to see to do their work and move about the site safely. Where natural light is inadequate or not available, artificial lighting should be provided.

  • Where work will continue outside daylight hours or the building or structure is enclosed, artificial lighting will be required.
  • Make sure that any artificial lighting does not change the apparent colour or visibility of any safety signs or other safety related items such as fire extinguishers.
  • With both daylight and artificial light, shadows can obscure hazards both at the workplace e.g. making it difficult to see the blade of a cutting disc or a drill bit and on the site generally e.g. at stairwells. If necessary, provide extra lighting to illuminate shadow areas.
  • Where failure of the primary artificial lighting would be a risk to the health or safety of anyone e.g. someone working on a tower scaffold in a basement may fall while trying to descend in the dark, provide emergency lighting.
  • Where it is not possible to have lighting that comes on automatically when the primary lighting fails, torches or other similar lights may provide suitable lighting.

Why is adequate lighting so important on construction and building sites?

  • Construction and industrial sites are often dangerous work environments – workers need to be able to work on and navigate a site safely and adequate lighting prevents injuries and accidents.
  • Adequate construction site lighting is required to keep sites running efficiently especially throughout winter afternoons and evenings when days are shorter and visibility is reduced to ensure jobs are done correctly and to a high quality.
  • Adequate construction site lighting protects visitors and workers by exposing potential hazards allowing people to safely move around a site especially near large objects e.g. containers which can throw shadows over hazardous areas.
  • Proper lighting is essential for the safe movement of vehicles around a site especially when navigating around people and equipment.


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What is adequate construction site lighting?

Different tasks will require different levels of light. The HSE Lighting at work ( guidance recommends the following levels

From HSE guidelines  View PDF Here

Activity Typical locations/types of work Average illuminance (lux) 1x Minimum measured illuminance (lux) 1x
Movement of people, machines and vehicles(a) Lorry park, corridors, circulation routes 20 5
Movement of people, machines and vehicles in hazardous areas; rough work not requiring any perception of detail Construction site clearance, excavation and soil work, loading bays, bottling and canning plant 50 20
Work requiring limited perception of detail(b) Kitchens, factories assembling large components, potteries 100 50
Work requiring perception of detail(c) Offices, sheet metal work, bookbinding 200 100
Work requiring perception of fine detail(d) Drawing offices, factories assembling electronic components, textile production 500 200

(a) Only safety has been considered, because no perception of detail is needed and visual fatigue is unlikely. However, where it is necessary to see detail to recognise a hazard or where error in performing the task could put someone else at risk, for safety purposes as well as to avoid visual fatigue, the figure needs to be increased to that for work requiring the perception of detail. The CIBSE Code for lighting 4 gives more information and recommendations based on scientific knowledge, practical experience, technical feasibility and economic reality.
(b) The purpose is to avoid visual fatigue; the illuminances will be adequate for safety purposes
(c) The purpose is to avoid visual fatigue; the illuminances will be adequate for safety purposes
(d) The purpose is to avoid visual fatigue; the illuminances will be adequate for safety purposes

The CIBSE Code for Lighting goes even further:

Activity Minimum maintained mean illuminance (1x) illuminance uniformity (minimum/average) Typical applications
Safe pedestrian movement in low risk areas 5 0.25 Industrial storage areas with only occasional traffic
Safe movement of slow vehicles 10 0.4 Open storage areas served by forklift trucks
Safe movement in medium risk areas 20 0.4 Vehicle storage areas, caontainer terminales with frequent traffic
Normal traffic 20 0.4 Road lighting in container terminals, marshalling yards
Very rough work 20 0.25 Excavation and site clearance
Rough work 50 0.25 Handling timber
Safe movement in high risk areas 50 0.4 Critical area within chemical plants, oil refineries etc
Normal work 100 0.5 Brick laying, carpentry
Fine work 200 0.5 Painting, electrical work

Table 24.1 Illuminance recommendations for exterior workplaces. Source: The SLL Lighting Handbook, 2018

What must construction and industrial site planners consider when planning the lighting requirements for the site?

Lighting should be chosen that will not:

  • Produce too much glare that can dazzle or reduce awareness of any nearby hazards.
  • Change the colour of surrounding items especially cables, fire extinguishers etc.

  • Flicker, strobe or cause discomfort to those working in the nearby vicinity.
  • Cause light pollution to nearby areas especially in a way that could distract motorists and potentially cause accidents.
  • Create undue noise especially if workers could be distracted from detailed tasks or if the site is close to residential areas.
  • The lighting solution chosen should provide consistent illumination for the duration of a shift or as long as the work task is required.

Lighting solutions chosen should:

  • Be robust and strong enough to cope with the industrial environments in which they will be used.

  • Be flexible and as versatile as possible to enable the product to be used in different areas for different applications as construction sites develop and change continuously.

  • Require low maintenance.

  • Be able to operate with the voltage / power available on site e.g. 110V or in some cases no power – battery powered solutions are therefore preferable in many applications

  • Lighting should be able to be positioned where it will not pose a safety risk for workers.

How do Ritelite Lighting products meet the requirements for Site Lighting?

All Ritelite lighting products are designed to be robust enough to cope with the ruggedised environment of a work site; to meet the requirements of site lighting as detailed above and to provide solutions for every construction and industrial lighting temporary lighting application. All Ritelite products use LED technology offering much higher performance in terms of lumen output to energy consumption than metal halide, sodium or compact fluorescent lights. LED lights are able to operate at lower temperatures as well as running cooler and offering immediate restart than previous temporary lighting technologies. Importantly all Ritelite products meet and surpass the adequate lighting guidelines laid out by the HSE and CIBSE guidelines quoted above.

All Ritelite Construction & Industrial LED lighting solutions are uniquely designed to:


Focus all the light on the required work surface with bespoke beam controlled lensing ensuring glare and light pollution are minimise.


Use high quality LED technology ensuring the lights are as efficient as possible maximising energy savings and duration of battery life whilst providing ultra bright high powered LED light.


Be flexible and versatile enabling them to be used in multiple locations across a work site both indoor and outdoor. Portable and mobile, compact to store and transport.


Be able to be operated silently either with inbuilt highly efficient lithium batteries or via the RITE-POWER portable battery generators.


Waterproof, Dustproof & shatterproof – designed for the harsh working environment of the construction and industrial industries.


High quality – built to last and continue to perform exceptionally for many years