What are the Minimum Lighting Regulations?

The HSE say "Employees are required to have arrangements in place to cover Health & Safety. This includes lighting which needs to be suitable and adequate to meet the requirements of the work place." (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992.

In order to assess the Lux levels required in a specific environment the employer must assess the risk factor of any potential hazards before deciding the correct lighting system to use.

Activity Typical types of construction work* Minimum brightness in lux
Movement of people, machines and vehicles (a) Driving, general pedestrian movement, unloading equipment or supplies 5
Movement of people, machines and vehicles in hazardous areas; rough work not requiring any perception of detail Less detailed carpentry, concrete pouring 20
Work requiring limited perception of detail (b) Brick laying, carpet laying, slab levelling, drain laying, roofing, scaffolding 50
Work requiring perception of detail (b) Electrical work, fine detail carpentry, plumbing, surveying, tiling 100
Work requiring perception of fine detail (b) Viewing site plans, fine detail electrical work, fine finishing of plastering 200

*Based on HSE guidance and produced in conjunction with HSL

(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 interior lighting) gives more information and recommendation based on scientific knowledge, practical experience, technical feasibility and economic reality.

(b). The purpose is to avoid fatigue; the illuminances will be adequate for safety purposes.

These regulations can vary depending on how much detail needs to be seen. It also depends on the age of the worker, and the speed and accuracy by which the task needs to be performed.

Non compliance with HSE38 Regulation would put employees at risk and should an accident occur employers could face the possibility of:

  • Prosecution by the HSE
  • Insurance cover being invalidated
  • Compensation claims