Project 3-4 Chapter 3, pp. 114
Poor or high lighting can have various effects on the eyes. Such effects include eyestrain, dry burning eyes, eye irritation, blurred vision, and even headaches. However, the effects do not stop there. Other collateral effects of poor lighting can include stiff necks, sore shoulders, and sometimes even back pain due to people compensating (by taking on poor body posture) for the poor light when trying to read something under undesirable conditions. Standard lighting, fluorescent lighting, and full-spectrum lighting all have different effects.
Studies have been carried out by the Light Right Consortium, who was managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. They were contracted by the Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center and the National Research Council of Canada Institute for Research in Construction. (Shadesbreath) Their analysis came to three conclusions. First, OSHA has minimum standard for office environment and lower standards for individual workstations. Secondly, there is no uniform lighting level that can optimize productivity. Lastly, non-daylight type lighting can have potentially negative effects on businesses in areas such as emotional/psychological issues in the employees; financially due to heat generation and overall energy consumption; and productivity and profits.
OSHA has a standard of thirty foot-candles minimum for office lighting. Guidelines for workstations with monitors should have lighting that ranges from 20 foot-candles to 50 foot candles. However, if LCD monitors are being used, OSHA regulations call for up to 73 foot-candles of lighting. Washout of the screen due to bright lights, can lead to eye fatigue. To combat this, it is recommended that light diffusers be used so that direct brightness on the computer screen is limited. OSHA also recommends removing the middle bulbs of a 4-bulb fluorescent light fixture to reduce brightness to more acceptable light levels if other light source alternatives are not available.
Another hazard is bright lights from behind the monitor. That can lead to contrast problems, making it difficult to see the monitor clearly. Solutions that OSHA recommends are the use of blinds on windows to block bright light. Furniture placement and workstation orientation can also help adjust for lighting by placing the monitor/workstation perpendicular to the offending light source.
High contrast in the work area is another hazard that can cause eye fatigue and headaches. OSHA recommends the use of diffused lighting that is evenly distributed to minimize the amount glare surfaces in the employee’s field of vision. Another recommendation is the use of non-glossy paint on the walls and ceilings. Matte finishes help diffuse light while doing a better job of reflecting indirect light, which can help reduce contrast and dark shadows.
Lastly, glare is addressed in OSHA’s hazard identification and possible solution recommendations. Glare...