Workplace lighting standards are a tricky matter. To those designing workplaces, lighting is a challenging aspect that requires careful consideration and analysis. To those using those workplaces, lighting should never fall under any consideration and instead serve its purpose without the worker having to devote any attention or effort to its management
Workplace lighting has to strike a balance between visual comfort and performance. Workers have to be able to clearly see what they are doing and their environment without the illumination becoming too harsh or obstructive. For example, while putting a 100 watt incandescent light bulb in a desk lamp right beside an office worker will certainly light up everything around them, it will also be too harsh and significantly interfere with that worker’s comfort and, in turn, negatively affect their productivity. Outdoor lighting is even more complicated, as the quantity and quality of natural light changes throughout the day and therefore must be included in any calculations and subsequent design decisions. Similarly, workplace lighting standards have to balance setting forth guidelines and making sure that the standard “neither provides specific solutions, nor restricts the designer’s freedom from exploring new techniques nor restricts the use of innovative equipment.
Workplace lighting solutions vary immensely based upon the environment. While the two most general cases are those of indoor and outdoor workplaces, standards developing organizations have gone on to also address the unique lighting needs of specific environments such as hospitals and other health care facilities or those of educational facilities
ANSI has recently organized a variety of workplace lighting standards into one collection to both educate those who are not aware of the full range of standards in this field and to assist those who are looking for standards in their search.
Additionally, ANSI’s page for the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), lists a great many standards dealing with workplace lighting and related topics.