I am even guilty of forgetting about lighting. In the many articles I have written here about office ergonomics – I realized that I have never once addressed lighting.
The UCLA School of Medicine’s online newsletter is now bringing office and workstation lighting to the attention of all of us.
Below is a discussion by the UCLA website of two different types of lighting in the office, and tips on how to deal with them with ergonomics in mind.
Overhead fluorescent lighting has a number of features that can lead to ergonomic problems. The first is that the level of light is not adjustable at an individual level. This especially becomes an issue when there are multiple people in the same space whose eyes requires different amounts of light.
The solution – dual components lighting, where overhead lighting is used in tandem with appropriate desk lighting.
Contrasting Light Requirements: Desk vs. Computer Monitor
Multi-tasking is one contemporary feature of the workplace and the home that only reinforces the need for ergonomic lighting.
You might find yourself frequently changing your line of sight from your computer monitor to the documents, papers, and books on your desk. This creates a regular strain on your eyes since they are constantly switching back and forth from the brightness of your screen to the relative darkness of your desk.
Monitors generate light, while paper reflects light. Reading paper documents requires 4-5 times more light than reading a computer monitor. As you might imagine, this frequent back and forth adjustment on the eyes is undesirable.
The solution – increase the amount of light delivered to your desk surface so that your paper documents are better illuminated. An ergonomic light should always be adjustable to let you decide where the light falls across your desk.
Ergonomic Lighting Tips
- Position your desk lamp so its light sweeps across your viewing area
- Use an ergonomic desk lamp that has multiple pivot points for extra adjustability
- Place the lamp opposite your writing hand to minimize shadows on your work surface
- Minimize any direct glare by angling the shade light away from your eyes
Source: UCLA Health – Environmental Health and Safety