Problems with flourescent lighting in an office

Written by luanne kelchner
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Problems with flourescent lighting in an office
Fluorescent lighting in offices may cause some workers discomfort. (Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Fluorescent lighting is used in offices and manufacturing facilities to provide bright task lighting to workers. A flicker found in some fluorescent lights and the low quality of light provided by the fluorescent bulbs may cause problems for some office workers. Workers may be helped by using tinted glasses or visors and combining fluorescent and incandescent light in the same work area. Allowing daylight into the room may also help those suffering with poor quality fluorescent light.


The light from fluorescent bulbs may be too harsh and cause some workers to feel fatigued while working under the bulbs all day. Fluorescent bulb covers and panels can help to diffuse the harsh light and combat tiredness while working. Workers may also find relief with compact fluorescent bulbs and other electronically ballasted fluorescents that have a faster and nearly imperceptible flicker. The light from compact fluorescents still causes some workers to experience fatigue and other symptoms, however.


Workers may experience headaches when working under fluorescent lighting in an office setting. While the flicker may be imperceptible in compact fluorescent light bulbs, Canadian Trent University Environmental and Resource Studies Ph.D., Magda Havas contends the difficulties some workers experience may be caused by radio frequency radiation from the fluorescent bulbs. Some workers have complained of migraine headaches while working under the newer fluorescent bulbs.

Eye Strain

The harsh lighting of fluorescent bulbs may cause some workers to suffer with eyestrain. The strain or eye fatigue may be a result of poor lighting when incandescent bulbs are replaced with fluorescent bulbs that do not supply the same amount of light. The colour of the light is an important factor as well. Compact fluorescent bulbs that emit a bluish white light may be harsh on the eyes while a fluorescent bulb that emits a softer yellow light is not. The colour of the light emitted by the bulbs is measured in Kelvin and compact fluorescents rated with a 2,700 Kelvin rating emit a light that is more yellow than those rated 5,000 Kelvin.

UVA Rays

Fluorescent light bulbs give off ultraviolet-A rays, which are the same rays the sun produces. For workers with sensitivity to ultraviolet rays, the lights can pose a problem, according to Arthritis Today. Workers with the autoimmune disease, Lupus for example, may cause a flare-up of the disease symptoms or burn the skin.

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