OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 12 General Safety Precautions

Section 186 Lighting

Subsection 186(1)

The OHS Code does not specify minimum lighting levels. Employers must determine if lighting at the work site is adequate for the tasks being performed and the conditions at the site. Tasks requiring the ability to distinguish detail, such as an electrician working on live circuits at a panel board or a sewing machine operator stitching a fall protection full body harness, will, for example, need to be provided with more lighting than a labourer performing housekeeping duties.

Employers should consider the following factors when establishing lighting levels:

(a) the type of activity or task being performed;
(b) the importance of speed and accuracy in performing the visual task; and
(c) the worker’s needs.

Employers and workers interested in recommended types of lighting and minimum lighting levels under various conditions should refer to the Lighting Handbook – Reference and Application (9th Edition), published by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).

For more information
Lighting Handbook – Reference and Application (9th Edition). Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).

Subsection 186(2)

The employer is responsible for protecting light sources above a working or walking surface against damage. Such damage may result in the partial or total loss of light at the work site or a work area, may expose workers to contact with energized electrical components, or may expose workers to the sharp debris or surfaces of broken bulbs. Each of these examples presents a safety hazard that can be prevented by protecting the light source against damage.

Subsections 186(3) and 186(4)

Emergency lighting must be available if workers are in danger if the normal lighting system fails. Natural daytime lighting cannot be relied upon as a dependable source of emergency lighting.

The employer is responsible for ensuring that an emergency lighting system provides sufficient light to allow workers to safely leave the work site, start any necessary emergency shutdown procedures or restore normal lighting. Where appropriate, emergency lighting must meet the requirements of the Alberta Building Code.