Good workshop lighting requires careful thought to ensure that you have a safe, comfortable work space. A productive workshop needs bright, glare-free lighting to illuminate and highlight work areas. A safe and productive workshop is one that is well lit with a combination of natural daylight and the right types of artificial lighting. The way the room is painted will also have an effect on the lighting.
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Natural light is always better because it is the light that the eye likes best. Artificial lighting is weighted towards the red/yellow or blue/green ends of the spectrum. Because natural light is neutral, true colours are more easily seen and fine details of your work are more easily handled. When planning a workshop include skylights and windows to let in natural light. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, natural daylight is associated with improved mood, higher worker morale, and lower levels of fatigue and eye strain.
You can use a combination of lighting in your workshop. Overhead fluorescent shop lights will provide even room light without casting heavy shadows that can lead to workshop accidents. For a shop that is used for longer periods of time, natural daylight fluorescent light tubes provide bright lighting with reduced eyestrain. Pendulum light fixtures over work tables offer better visibility of tools and powered equipment. You will have better control over your work area because you can see the work without glare and distracting shadows. Portable lamps are a good choice for some workshops. Table saws, lathes, and grinders can be used more easily with directional lamp clamped where the light can be focused directly on the work.
Many workshops have a lot of wall space dedicated to tool and raw materials storage. For improved visibility in these areas fluorescent track lights along the wall over the area work well as do indirect spots spaced along the ceiling over these storage areas.
The walls and floor of a workshop have to be considered as part of your lighting solution. They should be painted a light, neutral colour to reflect the light evenly across the shop.
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