If you own or operate a warehouse space, you likely face many obstacles and challenges on a daily and ongoing basis. A warehouse is a large space. It is often populated with a vast number of items and employees, and it’s up to you to keep them all accounted for and safe and sound. Employee safety is every business owner’s number one priority. There are many safety factors to consider when it comes to operating a warehouse, but one that will help in countless ways is a focus on warehouse lighting. Ensuring that your workers are able to see what they are doing and everything around them will help them to protect themselves and others. Appropriate lighting will also help your employees to do their jobs more effectively, which will result in greater profits for your company as well.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about warehouse lighting. Discover solutions for the current lighting issues you face now. See the many ways that lighting can help your business to expand and improve in ways that are exponential.
Challenges of Warehouse Lighting
Lighting a warehouse is not easy. There are many challenges in a space like a warehouse that are not present in other buildings. First, warehouses rarely have windows, and as a result, they cannot benefit from natural light like homes and other types of commercial buildings. When various doors are open some light leaks in, but there is not nearly enough to use for work throughout the space. Electric lights must be used.
Due to the high ceilings that are common to warehouse spaces, lights must be hung from far above. Since the lights are so far away, they must be bright and their beams must cover a large area below. Lights that are hung from a high ceiling are hard to maintain. It is difficult to get up there to repair the lights as needed and to change lightbulbs. Furthermore, a great deal of dust collects rapidly in most warehouses. This dust settles on the lights above and that dust is rarely disturbed or removed.
Benefits of High-Quality and Well-Planned Warehouse Lighting
When you take time to plan your warehouse lighting and when you choose high-quality lighting options, none of the above issues matter. Armed with the right knowledge on this topic, you can ensure that your warehouse is well-lit at all times, that your lights stay functioning and effective, and that your employees are safe and efficient. Using high-quality light will reduce your lighting maintenance costs; lights that are made for warehouse spaces are made with the problems described above in mind. They will still get dusty, but their overall function will not be affected.
Your employees will be much more productive when they can see clearly and when they are not worried as much about their own personal safety due to dark spots and shadows. This will increase your overall operational efficiency and the results will be clear in short order. Everyone enjoys working in a bright, cheerful place over a dark and dismal one, and this too will help to improve general employee relations with each other and with management as well. Finally, high-quality warehouse lighting is the right thing to do when it comes to sustainability and respecting the environment. Using lights that last for many years before replacement is necessary is good for our earth and is just smart business.
Warehouse Lighting Solutions
Now that you know the reasons lighting in warehouses is so challenging and the reasons that proper lighting is so important, you may be considering a lighting overhaul in your warehouse. Whether you are thinking about replacing the entire lighting system in your space or are simply considering an improvement on what you currently have, the following lighting solutions should help to guide your thinking.
Understanding the Fundamentals of Warehouse Lighting Design
There are many things to think about when it comes to lighting design in general, but in particular, in a space as large as a warehouse. First of all, you must make sure that the lights you use are bright enough. They may seem to be very bright when you test them at ground level, but remember, the light must travel from a high ceiling all the way to the floor. Most experts suggest a brightness of 200 to 300 lux in an area where people will be working, and at least 100 lux in an area that is used for storage.
You also want your lighting to be uniform and equal throughout your space. You don’t want to have bright areas interspersed with darker spots. This can be rough on your workers’ eyes and can make it more difficult to make safe choices. Also, take into consideration the structures that you have within the space. If your warehouse has very high shelves, you will need a larger quantity of lighting fixtures than a warehouse with a lower and more open floorplan.
Consider Types of Lighting
When it comes to choosing warehouse lighting sources, there are three options: high energy discharge lights (HID), fluorescent, and LED. For many years, almost all lighting in warehouses was high energy discharge (HID). It is very affordable and many warehouse spaces continue to use this type of light. They are low-cost, which is attractive, but they also depreciate in quality quickly. HID lights also require some warm-up time which is not ideal for many businesses.
Fluorescent lighting emerged later and became popular fast. These lights are energy-efficient and affordable. Fluorescent lighting comes in a wide range of color temperatures and thanks to the vast variety of shapes and sizes available, they can work well in any space. However, LED lighting is considered the best lighting source for warehouses by most. They are even more energy-efficient than fluorescent lights, but they do have a higher initial cost. They can last up to 100,000 hours, though, so the high cost at first is well worth it in the long term. LED lights can sometimes struggle in higher temperatures over eighty degrees, but even that is uncommon and they are champions the majority of the time. Warehouse LED lights usually do just fine.
Know Best Practices for Warehouse Lighting
Once you have evaluated your needs and have considered the different types of lighting available to you, there are some best practices to consider before you make any purchases. Glare is hardly noticeable until you have too much of it on a regular basis. It can give your employees headaches and make it difficult for them to see for safety reasons. LED lights are a common cause of glare in large spaces, but you can use reflectors to help reduce its effect.
Light color is another major factor to consider. It can affect contrast and clarity and the wrong light can make reading labels and identifying objects more challenging for your workers. The best light for these tasks is natural light, but when that is not available, such as in a warehouse space, lighting that mimics it can be helpful. Also, when it comes time to buy lighting for your space, be sure to use a supplier and installer that you trust. The company you choose should be happy to answer any questions that you have before you give them any money. Since lighting is their business, they should have all the answers you need. If they don’t, consider shopping elsewhere.
Evaluate and Reevaluate
You should take the time to reevaluate your lighting on a regular basis. Things can change over time, and your lighting should change right along with it. Schedule a lighting analysis every few months. You may find that nothing needs to change, but it’s worth doing just in case. When evaluating your warehouse lighting, ask yourself a series of questions. Are your loading dock areas well lit? Can employees in all areas see clearly? Are storage areas lit in a way that works for the space? Do any of your employees ever comment on the lighting in any way? The answers to these questions will help you decide if you need to make changes or not.
Management and Maintenance
Many warehouse owners and managers consider their role regarding lighting over once the lights are hung and working. However, as someone who manages a large space with many moving parts, you know better. Lighting systems need management and maintenance on an ongoing basis. Your supplier and installer will explain to you what you need to know when it comes to maintenance of your lights. Follow their instructions; they are professionals. You can also do a number of things to extend the lifetime of your lights on a daily basis. If parts of your warehouse are not active at all times, consider installing motion sensors so the lights come on automatically as needed. Also, dimmers can help in this area as well.
High-quality warehouse lighting is so important to you, your employees, and your business. Although many warehouse managers and owners don’t take the time to think about lighting too much, it can make a huge difference in your company’s level of safety, productivity, efficiency, and employee satisfaction. Don’t forget about the lights. You’ll be glad you gave them the attention they deserve. If you’re interested in learning more about warehouses and warehouse management, check out the Miscellaneous section of our site.