Turn on the lights to prevent falls from heights

Visibility is a key factor that often dictates a work environment’s level of safety. If employees are conducting tasks in areas with poor lighting, they expose themselves to a greater risk of injury.

In addition to establishing height safety solutions that are appropriate for their operations, foremen and other business professionals must take tactics to improve visibility. Doing so can greatly reduce the chances of a person falling from heights.

Asking the right questions

Like any workplace safety assessment, determining how much or what kind of lighting a job requires depends on the processes and components associated with that task. Safe Work Australia (SWA) advised employers to start with the basic questions, such as:

  • Is there sufficient lighting along stairwells, ramps, flooring transitions and passageways?
  • Does the lighting create shadows that may divert workers’ attention?
  • When lighting hits particular assets (stairs, scaffolding, etc.), does it skew workers’ depth perception?

From there, administrators can apply specific solutions. For instance, to eliminate sun glare, managers could place coloured edges at the end of steps. A black, sheen-less stripe will absorb the light as opposed to reflecting it.


Proper lighting can make all the difference in a work environment.

A holistic view of lighting

SWA maintained that hallways, staircases, lifts and walkways should possess a minimum illuminance of at least 100 lux. Adhering to standards is a good measure to take, but business owners should also be aware of some core principles associated with lighting.

For instance, the Canadian Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA) created a document that details how foremen can use a combination of indirect and direct illuminance to create adequate visibility. Specifically, sources of artificial light such as lamps should possess low-brightness lenses and glare-control louvres. These components ensure lamps distribute light evenly.

Low definition makes it hard to differentiate objects from their backgrounds.

In most cases, indirect light is quite beneficial, because it sends the majority of its luminescence to ceilings and walls, which reflect it throughout the rest of the work area.

IAPA also detailed the importance of contrast, and how low definition makes it arduous to differentiate objects from their backgrounds. Based on how your environment reflects light and casts shadows, it’s possible that some assets may be more difficult to identify. At the worst of times, this could cause a worker to trip and fall from a high area, sustaining a serious injury as a result.

Lighting is just one out of many considerations that make up a well-developed height safety solution. Speak with AnchorSafe’s experts to learn more.