The HSE Recommended Lighting Levels for Office & Computer Work

Written by james nalley
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The HSE Recommended Lighting Levels for Office & Computer Work
The HSE recommends different levels of lighting for the work environment. (Fluorescent overhead lamp in office image by Alexey Kuznetsov from

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is an organisation responsible for the regulation and enforcement of health and safety issues for workplaces in the United Kingdom. Established in 1975, it has since merged with the Health and Safety Commission and not only enforces laws to prevent death, injury and illness at work locations, but also oversees investigations about industrial accidents and produces literature on a number of health-related topics. The HSE recommends several indoor-lighting requirements for the comfort of employees.

General Lighting

Lighting requirements are normally considered during an office's design phase by architects and interior designers. Guides for adequate lighting can appear to be highly complex and technical. However, the HSE recommends a more simple way to create a healthy working environment: by adjusting lighting levels based on the type of work that is carried out within the environment, and not an overall general level.

Office Lighting

The HSE recommends that an office or large space such as a process control room be lit at an illuminance of 300 lux. However, lighting levels may vary by the type of activity within the office. General lighting should only be used either when the workplace is empty or when the consideration of shadows cast by equipment does not hinder the work.

Computer Work Lighting

According to the HSE, the task with the greater need for detail requires a higher level of light. For example, an office with an illuminance of 300 lux should include a lighting level of 750 lux for work areas that require attention to detail, such as engineering drawings, wiring diagrams or details on computer screens. Individual-lighting should be considered for areas with computer screens, since overhead sources of light can bounce off of screens' reflective surfaces and cause glare and eye-strain for the employees.

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