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How employers must be 'brighter' concerning a certain work hazard

From slippery floors and cluttered walkways to machinery lacking the necessary safety guards and improperly designed workstations, workers in both industrial and office settings must contend with a variety of workplace hazards on a regular basis. However, did you know that one of these workplace hazards may include the very lights located above their heads or at their desks?

According to safety experts, countless workplaces here in Chicago, throughout Illinois and across the United States are currently outfitted with otherwise poor lighting systems that either produce too much or too little light, poorly distribute light, or have improper contrast.

While this may seem like something that wouldn't translate into serious work injuries, consider just a few of the scenarios in which poor lighting systems could harm workers:

  • A machine worker may not be able to view his workstation properly thanks to poor lighting, meaning he may not be in a good enough position to judge the positioning of dangerous equipment or work materials. This elevates the risk of everything from lacerations to amputations.
  • An office worker may not be able to see her computer screen thanks to poor overhead lighting, meaning she has to position her head awkwardly. This elevates the risk of everything from neck strain to the development of musculoskeletal injuries over time.

Safety experts also indicate that poor lighting systems can result in diminished productivity in virtually any setting, as employees are simply unable to work as efficiently during their day-to-day operations.

"If you can't see what you're doing during assembly, you're going to be making more mistakes, and it's going to take you longer to do the same tasks," said one ergonomics engineer.

We can only hope that more employers start to take note of this major safety issue and take the necessary measures to keep their workforce safe from all the hazards presented by poor lighting systems.

Those who suffer debilitating injuries on the job should strongly consider speaking with an experienced attorney about their rights and their options concerning workers' compensation.

Source: EHS Today, "The power of light," Josh Cable, Oct. 14, 2013

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