Lighting and its Contribution to Work Place Accidents – August 2018 Newsletter

I have spent the last 3 to 4 months researching to learn more about how accidents in industrial and warehouse operations are linked to lighting. I have been astounded to learn that throughout the world, there are numerous documented cases where serious workplace accidents have been directly linked to poor quality or simply poor to very low light levels.

One of the aspects and thus causes which hit home to me, was the fact that the risks of accident were much higher under High Pressure Sodium lights than under any other light source. The reasons ascribed to the number of accidents under HPS lighting is the low CRI of between 27 and 30. This impacted of workers’ ability to see safety markings, correctly select objects where colour was important and in fact to judge distance correctly. The latter applied to material handling drivers. It caused them to misjudge either retrieving or placing pallets or items on high racking.

It was found that where the CRI of the lighting was 70 or more, the risk of accidents reduced incredibly. It enabled workers to have improved colour perception, less errors occurred recognising hazards in the workplace and particularly in the case of forklift drivers. Their risk of misjudging the placement or retrieval of pallets was greatly reduced.

A further amazing result was the fact that workers were prone to greater fatigue and drowsiness when working under HPS and other HID lamps which became an even greater problem in the case of shift workers. Here is an astonishing fact – studies found that high quality LED lighting made workers feel up to five times more alert. It helped workers to detect hazards or potential risk situations up to 94% faster.

Additional benefits of high quality LED lighting for industrial and warehouse operations include less maintenance thus less disruption to operations or production, instant on in the event of power disruptions even momentary and of course the obvious of low energy consumption and the do not contain any hazardous materials.

However, from my personal experience as an illumination engineer and having completed many industrial and warehouse lighting designs which have been successfully implemented, ensure that only the best quality LED high bays with effective glare control are used where mechanical material handling is used. Where any form of unshielded LED lighting is used, high glare levels will prevail which causes momentary blindness or dazzling of the operator for a period as long as a couple of minutes.

I recommend to anyone who has any involvement in these applications, to research every detail about the products being considered for the project before commencing the actual lighting design.  Mistakes and the cost of accidents to the workers and the plant operators is considerable.  It is easier to be right first time than to go back and rectify later.  The latter costs are much higher at the end of the day!

I came across the poster below whilst doing my research which sums up the content of this article.


Winter Specials on selected courses extended by popular demand until 30 August 2018.

Winter Specials – BIG Savings on Selected Courses & Tuition Sessions

Welcome to the following new students:

  • Kgamotso Sebelebele, Eurolux, Johannesburg – BHASL002: Primary Lighting Course
  • Johan Swart, OAC Architects, Pretoria – BHASL003: Dip Illum Engineering
  • Lukas Wayiti, Emcon Group, Windhoek – BHASL003: Dip Illum Engineering
  • Adrian Craddock, ACDC Dynamics, Johannesburg – BHASL003: Diploma in Ilumination Engineering
  • Gloria Snyman, ACDC Dynamics, Johannesburg – BHASL003: Diploma in Illumination Engineering
  • Fufus Mahlekgane, ACDC Dynamics, Johannesburg – BHASL003: Diploma in Illumination Engineering
  • Ryan Jones-Hockley, ACDC Dynamics, Johannesburg – BHASL003: Diploma in Illumination Engineering
  • Lionel Visser, Electro Diesel Group, Steelpoort – BHASL003: Diploma in Illumination Engineering
  • Justin Pullinger, Electro Diesel Group, Steelpoort – BHASL003: Diploma in illumination Engineering
  • Bevan Rose, Dynamic Distributors, Port Elizabeth – BHASL003: Diploma in Illumination Engineering
  • Nadia Paul, PacB Power, Pretoria – BHASL018: Relux Course
  • Ruan Paul, PacB Power, Pretoria – BHASL018: Relux Course

I invite you to join me to wish the following a very Happy Birthday and an amazingly successful year ahead!

  • Lukas Wayiti, Windhoek – 1 August
  • Minette Hattingh, Lady Grey, EC – 1 August
  • Jan-Hendrik Verdoes, Windhoek – 2 August
  • Thabiet Rykslief, Cape Town – 2 August
  • Thomas Vollmer, Cape Town – 4 August
  • Hendri Havenga, Pretoria – 6 August
  • Jade De Pontes, Germiston – 6 August
  • Renaldo Du Pisanie, Windhoek – 10 August
  • Ryan Moolman, Durban – 13 August
  • Pieter Meyer, Port Elizabeth – 17 August
  • Dominic Oliver, Cape Town – 27 August
  • John Tau, Kimberley – 27 August
  • Adrian Silberbauer, Somerset West – 30 August

Join me in congratulating the first graduate from Sydney, Australia.

Congratulations Melissa Lentz on your successful graduation on 9 July 2018.  You are now a proud qualified Illumination Engineer!

Lighting Matters: Lighting & the Fourth Industrial Revolution

To read Phil’s monthly column featured in EE Publishers’ Vector Magazine click the link here –

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As most of you know, I had the privilege of working for the South African division of a truly great lighting company from 1972 until 1986 when time changed in South Africa and many fine companies disinvested in our country.

I have overtime collected loads of information about Thorn EMI Lighting and its achievements and thought that my students would particularly enjoy reading about their achievements as they study old conventional light sources right through to present day LED.

Click here to see Thorn EMI Lighting’s product innovation timeline –


Course News

The curriculum for BHASL003: Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course is undergoing a complete make-over.  Yes, you read correctly.  The course curriculum is being rationalised and no less than 7 brand new subjects are being added. This course has become known as the Premier course for anyone who is involved in lighting as part of their career or profession. It will take the course forward not only to be up to date but to position the students at the cutting edge of the very latest technologies at the versions at the time that they study them. It will also position them to implement the technologies in their projects and lighting designs.

The implementation date is set for September 2018. Watch this space!

Overheating Buildings – Not Just a Theory

For many years I have been teaching students and delegates to workshop alike that all professionals grossly under-calculate the heat emission component of lighting particularly that of old technologies such as tungsten halogen and particularly metal halide light sources. The same applies to a lesser extend to fluorescent and CFL/PL lamps, although we must never overlook the heat that is generated by the ballasts and control gear.

I have often been poo-pooed for teaching this, however, science and the science of measurement which is now able to measure every aspect in a building, is proving that buildings do overheat despite air-conditioning systems being in operation. I recently spent a lot of time attending online lectures about building wellness as part of my continued study and professional development.

In one example of such overheating it was 29°C in the shade in Lincoln on that particular day recently, yet the office building incurred indoor temperatures of 37.5°C before measuring with the air-conditioning in operation.

The building which had been designed by an award-winning architect.  During the design phase it had a concept stage overheating risk assessment undertaken by a well-known engineer, yet serious problems persisted.

Artificial lighting gains served to exacerbate the obvious overheating issues which resulted from insufficiently considered architectural design, ventilation and air-conditioning. Then to add to the problem, it had a roof full of PV panels!

The author and leader of the case study said that it proved that high temperatures aren’t just theoretical and that they do occur in the real world. He stated that he had previously modelled the building in IES and found that it peaked ~42°C in his simulation, with external air temperatures ~32°C, suggesting that the simulations are fairly close to the mark.

It’s a good lesson about doing the job right first time around. He ended by saying: “Overheating problems emerge after handover, and if architects are not involved they are not learning the design lessons. There is a lot of feedback coming, particularly from housing associations, which suggests architects could do more to evaluate their designs from a health and well-being perspective”.

I have often engaged consulting electrical and mechanical engineers on this subject.  Most were still calculating the air-conditioning sizing simply by using the geometry plus the power of the luminaires and then converting the results to BTUs.  I have always stressed the need to research the latest calculation methodology which also takes the emitted temperature from the luminaires whilst operating.  This is the only logical and accurate way to calculate the heat load.  It is because this has not been done in the past, that H Vac units and air-conditioning units over-operate to try desperately to get rid of the heat load.  This results in significantly higher electricity consumption costs and more frequent need to service units during the hot summer months in South Africa.
I hope that this is food for thought for you, the readers and students.

Many is the tune played on an old fiddle!

This was an expression that my late father often used. Of course he was referring to the famous Stradivarius violin.  It was a rare viola made by the Italian artisan Antonio Stradivari in 1719 that will was sold by Sotheby’s in a sealed bid auction in June 2014. It was sold for $16 million (£27 million).

You are probably wondering why I have bothered to mention this and what has it to do with lighting?

Well it is quite simple. Light is as old as our planet itself as it comes from the sun, our modern approach to light began with Sir Isaac Newton who discovered that light when passed through a glass prism, split into a fan-shaped light of different colours in a continuous spectrum (I suppose that rings a bell for the students who cast their minds back to Module 1 of the Dipolonma in Illumination Engineering course. Newton lived between the period 1642-1726.  Stradivarius the great crafstman produced his most sought after violins from 1690 to 1700. Do you now see the connection?

Well, there is still more to come. Similarly I liken myself to Stradivarius because I am now in my 71st year but believe me, there is never a dull moment. I regularly attend varsity lectures online to keep up to date with the latest technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution as it gains momentum and the latest thinking of leading academics and scientists on the subject of lighting, its impact on humans and society in general.

For those of you who use the excuse that you do not have time, remember this old expression. Do not let TIME pass you by and rob you of opportunity. Be encouraged to strive to always want to learn more.  One can never know enough. One is never an expert. Such a person does not exist no matter how they or for that matter even I may try. We can only refer to people that we consider to be good at what they do as having experience, considerable knowledge or as is often put, expertise.

Remain curious!



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