Warehouse Lighting Best Practices for 2020
April 8, 2020
When it comes to commercial warehouse lighting, there are two essential reasons for having the right lights: productivity and safety. The very nature of the activities that occur within a commercial warehouse can make the entire operation an accident waiting to happen. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Safety Council (NSC) continually cites slip and fall accidents as the leading cause of workers compensation claims. (In 2016, for example, NSC noted 23,490 reported slip and fall accidents in the transportation and warehouse industry, 46 of which resulted in death.) Each of these cases cost an employer roughly $40,000 on average. The good news is that these types of incidents are 100% preventable and your choice of lighting plays a large role in doing just that. Below, our experts here at Action Services Group explain the importance of light-emitting diode (LED) warehouse lighting, as well as some of the best practices when looking to install new fixtures and the benefits of an LED retrofit.
LED Warehouse Lighting Must-Haves
Commercial warehouse lighting must meet several unique needs. Depending on the area you intend to illuminate, your LED warehouse lighting will need to account for each of these dynamic requirements.
Well-Lit Loading Docks
Most loading docks rely solely on overhead lighting to illuminate the area. However, supplemental lighting can enhance visibility as well. Overhead LEDs provide ample visibility with reduced shadows. However, given the use of equipment, such as handcarts or forklifts, enhanced visibility can improve safety tenfold. That is why many warehouses have begun to use supplemental LED lighting. These mobile lights also help to better illuminate the insides of trailers and containers as well, which are often dark or poorly lit. This makes loading and unloading even safer and enhances overall visibility, preventing accidental slips and falls, as well as injuries that may occur with equipment due to the inability to fully see what is around you.
Full Illumination for Shipping & Receiving Areas
Shipping documents can be faded, hard to read, or simply time-consuming depending on how well documented items are. For those reasons and more, it is important that those who are reading and filling out these documents can clearly see the paperwork in front of them. LEDs are known for their brightness, ability to reduce glare, and ability to be customized for personal needs. This means they make great light sources for shipping and receiving areas, as well as individual workstations.
Optimal Storage Visibility
Vertical and horizontal illumination is important when it comes to storage areas. These areas often have high stacks of goods that can diminish lighting if it not appropriately placed throughout the area. For example, as goods are stacked closer to the roof, those overhead lights may become blocked, decreasing visibility not only above the stack, but also to the surrounding area. Furthermore, dedicated aisle lighting is required to ensure paths are completely visible. Because LEDs are adaptable to any environment, these lights can ensure your storage areas are illuminated at all times.
If you are considering an LED retrofit for you warehouse, you might have already taken inventor of the types of lighting you currently have illuminating your facility. Each type of lamp has its own considerations when retrofitting to LED. You can learn more about your individual lamps and the benefits of converting to LED, by checking out our LED vs. Other Lamps Series.
Best Practices for Any Commercial Warehouse
At present, the most commonly used types of warehouse lights are fluorescents and LEDs. That being said, there are several factors and best practices that should be considered before you opt to install or retrofit warehouse lighting. Let’s take a look at four of those best practices.
Fixtures & Brightness
Many warehouses have high ceilings. This often means ceiling lights must be brighter to ensure full illumination. Furthermore, the varied spaces that make up a warehouse will each have their own lighting requirements. For example, as noted above, your loading dock, shipping and receiving department, and storage areas will each need to meet with specific requirements that enhance productivity and increase safety.
All lights run the risk of some glare. However, certain LEDs are designed to reduce glare and enhance visibility. Experts, like those here at Action Services Group, can help you identify the right types of LEDs for areas where glare needs to be minimized. For example, areas where paperwork or computer screens are most commonly viewed, will need reduced glare to protect employee vision and enhance readability.
Your lighting directly affects the way colors are perceived. In particular, it affects contrast and clarity. Most experts agree that natural lighting best enhances color perception. It also helps to provide the best lighting for reading labels, as well as the ability to identify subtle differences in various objects. Lights come with a Color Rendering Index (CRI) rating that directly relates to how accurately colors are portrayed beneath them. A CRI of 90 or above is considered ideal. Anything below 80, however, is considered mid-range. LEDs have some of the highest CRIs, often being rated 90 or above.
For a more in-depth view on Color Rendering Index (CRI) as well as Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) and Foot Candles, we suggest reading: Understanding CRI, CCT, and Foot Candles in High Quality LED Lighting.
Installing new energy-efficient fixtures may have an upfront cost. However, they tend to save you even more money in the long run. LEDs are no exception. Additional lighting control systems also help to increase cost savings overtime and are known to work exceptionally well with LED warehouse lighting.
You got excited when you saw increased savings, right? We have an entire series dedicated to Lighting Control Systems that can help shed some light on potential extra savings associated with LED retrofits.
The Benefits of an LED Warehouse Retrofit
Aside from safety and productivity, the cost benefits of an LED warehouse lighting retrofit is another major reason to make the change today. Not only will you see an immediate reduction in energy costs, your lighting maintenance costs will also be reduced.
Let’s start with a comparison. Fluorescent, or the most commonly used compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), lighting is more cost-effective than the outdated incandescent or high-intensity discharge (HID) options. In fact, the standard 60-watt incandescent bulb, which provides between 650 and 850 lumens, consumes more energy than a CFL, which only requires 13 to 18 watts. However, the comparable LED model will only require 7 to 10 watts to burn just as brightly. This type of watt reduction is typically regardless of the lumens you need for proper illumination of each space. Since commercial warehouse lighting accounts for 30% to 40% of your energy consumption, a reduction of this kind can save you money immediately.
LEDs are also much more durable and long-lasting than almost every other type of lighting currently on the market today. Because they are solid-state technology, they do not include breakable glass, toxic gases, or fragile filaments. This makes them less likely to suffer damages from bumps, shocks or vibrations. Furthermore, LEDs have a much longer lifespan than any other bulbs currently on the market. In fact, where a 14-watt CFL is expected to last up to 8,000 hours, a 7 watt LED is expected to last more than 25,000 hours. (Some LEDs are also known to last beyond 100,000 hours!) This means you will need to replace LEDs far less often than you would any other type of light, reducing maintenance costs substantially.
Like the above section states, there are many benefits to an LED retrofit. Want to learn more about the potential savings? Add LED Lighting Quality: What are the advantages beyond energy savings? to your reading list.
LED Warehouse Lighting with Action Services Group
When it comes to your LED warehouse lighting retrofit, the experts here at Action Services Group can ensure your system provides optimal illumination, as well as a substantial return-on-investment. If you are ready to install a new lighting fixture or want to examine your retrofit options, contact Action Services Group today to learn more about how we can help. Call 610-558-9773 or email [email protected] or schedule a call.
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“We were challenged with the task of increasing our warehouse light levels from 70 LUX to 200 LUX. Action Service Group, provided the design, photo metrics, product, and installation, for a total turn-key project. The project exceeded our expectations, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. It is a much safer environment for our employees.” Facility Manager – Big Box Furniture Store