Workplace lighting: types and lighting requirements

Proper lighting – the key to eye health, full performance of work, reducing fatigue. We will tell you how to choose the right devices, and learn about the hygienic standards stipulated by the legislation on health protection.

The need for proper lighting

Workplace lighting

Through our eyes we receive about 80% of the information about our environment. You have probably noticed that our mood, our willingness to learn or do work depends directly on the room light. Sometimes we get tired quickly, and we get headaches and eye pain. And sometimes we can do what we like for hours without noticing the fatigue.

Take a look at these distractions and fatigues and you’ll see why we find it hard to work in some environments:

  1. Excessively bright lighting;

  2. lack of light;

  3. pulsation of artificial lighting;

  4. glare from uncovered luminaires;

  5. Direct sunlight;

  6. Lack of shade if the workplace is not positioned correctly;

  7. Glare and color distortion.

Since the beginning of March 2021 new sanitary rules came into effect in Russia. They define the standards for the organization of the workplace. And of course, a large section on lighting standards is highlighted.

Those who wish may study this document in detail. This is SanPIN 1.2.3685-21 “Hygienic Standards and Requirements for Ensuring Safety and/or Harmlessness to Humans of Environmental Factors. Sanitary rules provide detailed information about the coefficients of illumination of all kinds of workplaces.

Note that the health regulations are based on scientific research. This means that these numbers are not “off the top of my head”, but are supported by research.

Another document, GOST R 55710 2013 “Lighting of workplaces inside buildings. Norms and methods of measurement”, approved by the order of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation on November 8, 2013 N 1364-st, legislates the main indicators of the degree of illumination at workplaces of different industries and institutions.

Types of lighting

The regulations divide lighting into 3 types. It is natural, artificial and combined workplace lighting. Let’s consider each type in more detail.


The most comfortable type of lighting for our eyes. This is natural light coming from direct sunlight, or scattered through clouds. Natural light also includes reflected sunlight. This type of lighting is preferred for all workplaces. sThere are certain rules for organizing workplaces so that they receive equal sunlight:

  1. In places of direct human activity, such as administrative, residential and industrial premises must have natural light.

  2. The back rooms are allowed to receive light through the glass partitions of the adjacent rooms, from the windows or through special glass lights on the ceiling.

  3. Windows, in the premises for the activities of people are closed only with glass. No artificial substitutes are allowed.

  4. Reflected light is enhanced through the application of light-colored paint on the walls and equally light-colored furniture. White light can reflect up to 80% of daylight.

Workplace lighting


This type is created by means of electric lamps or lighting installations. Today incandescent and fluorescent lamps are being replaced with LED counterparts that are economical, hygienic and environmentally friendly.

According to the type of location artificial light is divided into the following types:

  1. General. From the lamps, located under the ceiling.

  2. Local. Spotlights that provide full-value illumination of workplaces.

  3. Mixed. Is obtained by combining local and general lighting.

Why this division is made. To make it convenient to control and measure the required degree of illumination of the workplace. By controlling the intensity of one light source or another, the desired amount of light can be established.

In addition to lighting options, fixtures themselves also have a classification and, depending on the type of light emitted by them, are placed in strictly defined places.

The following types of lighting installations are distinguished:

  1. Direct radiation.It can only be ceiling fixtures. For example a central chandelier or spotlights. Direct exposure to unprotected light causes rapid fatigue and mental fatigue.

  2. Diffused light.These luminaires can be used as general and local lighting.

  3. Diffused light. These are light fixtures with uncovered plafonds, the rays from which are directed from below upwards and evenly distributed in the room through the reflection of the ceiling and walls.


This type of lighting combines the rays of natural and artificial light. Often, if there is insufficient natural light, it is supplemented with artificial luminaires.

What is a “workplace”

The workplace is the area where we do some kind of activity. This is why all places where people work, schoolchildren and students study are workplaces.

The workplace is the place where activities are performed and for which a standard amount of light is specified.

The degree of illumination, which is the sum of natural and artificial light, is measured in lux (lx). Lux is the number of lumens per 1 m2.

SanPin and Gosti give us information about lighting standards in industry, agriculture, healthcare, cultural institutions and administrative organizations.

We are mostly interested in the parameters of light supply for reading and writing workplaces. Here is an example of the main types of workplaces and their lighting requirements. The average value (standard) of the illuminance indicates how much light should optimally reach the work surface.

Name of the workplace

Standard illuminance, lux

Reading room in the library


Play and work rooms in preschools


Workstations in office buildings for writing, typing, reading, data processing


Rooms for teachers in educational institutions


Classrooms, lecture halls and evening classes for adults


We see that the average standard for a comfortable activity related to reading, creativity varies in the range of 300-500 lux.

The lighting of workplaces in businesses is handled by specialists from the occupational safety department. But about our own children and the organization of their workspace at home we should take care of ourselves.


Norms for school pupils

Every day children spend approximately 90% of their learning time in school. Therefore, educational institutions have strict requirements for creating a comfortable environment.

Do you know why rectangular classrooms and desks are designed so that the light shines in from the left?? And an extra long lamp is sure to hang above the blackboard? Yes, this is all a consequence of scientific research translated into legislative requirements.

There are guidelines for planning classrooms for different types of classes, taking into account the penetration of natural street light into the classrooms.

To create comfortable lighting in classroomsyou need to follow such requirements:

  1. Use only scattered light bulbs;

  2. Color temperature of the luminaires – 4000 K;

  3. Color rendering index – more than 80%.

  4. Light pulsation factor should not exceed 10% and when working with computers – no more than 5%.

In computer classrooms, gymnasiums, canteens, assembly halls, administrative and household rooms, it is allowed to have no sunlight.

Workplace lighting at home

To provide a comfortable place for our children to study, create and play, we also use the standards developed and adopted for schools.

Desk layout

It seems that if you put a desk right in front of the window you get perfect natural light. Yes, the light from the window will fall directly on the desk. But look at the numbers on sunlight intensity in different weather conditions:

  1. Direct sunlight is 100,000 lux;

  2. variable cloudiness – 50,000 lux;

  3. overcast – 20000 lux

  4. rain clouds – 10000 lux.

Recall that the norm for comfortable writing and reading is only 500 lux. So if the desk is in front of a window you have to put blinds or special light-diffusing curtains on the windows.

Additionally, for darker times of day, a spotlight should be installed on the table.

Choosing a desk light

Here are the important requirements for selecting a desk light fixture:

  1. CaseLight fixtures must be made of matte materials in a neutral color. The light reflected from the shiny lamp support will be constantly irritating, and the eyes will quickly get tired. Also, for permanent work the color of the enclosure must not be distracting.

  2. Plafondmust have an elongated cone shape so that the lamp fits inside completely. At the same time from the lamp to the light should be a distance of at least 5 cm to avoid the strong heat and accidental burns. The thickness of the body of the lamp must be at least 2 mm.

  3. Do not use a desk lamp in combination with a glass surface of the table. Reflecting off the surface, direct rays of light will enter the eye and irritate the pupil and retina.

  4. The reflection of bright light in the computer monitor will also lead to rapid fatigue and loss of vision.

  5. The best option – a lamp with adjustable height. It will help to have a proper position for work: Your head should be in the shadow, but at a distance of 40-50 cm from the book or notebook.

  6. For desk lighting you needUse lamps with a yellowish tint.It is closest to the sunlight. Lamp with a comfortable color temperature for vision are labeled 2700-3500K (warm white light). The light from fluorescent lamps has an invisible flicker, which leads to severe eye strain, severe fatigue and headaches.

  7. Optimal wattageIncandescent light bulbs to meet hygiene requirements of 500 lux should be 40-60 W or 7-11 W for LED counterparts.

  8. If local lighting is used, general ceiling lighting must be present in the room. With only a desk lamp, a child’s eyes will quickly tire due to the need to readjust the pupil to the varying degrees of light in the room. General lighting keeps the pupil condition about the same.

Checklist for setting up lighting at the workplace

So that you do not have to study hundreds of articles on the proper organization of the child’s workplace,We have compiled the main principles into a general list:

  1. The desk should be placed sideways near a window so that the light falls to the left (if the child is right-handed) or to the right (if the child writes with the left hand).

  2. The desk lamp is set on the opposite side from the hand, which the student writes.

  3. The source of table lighting should not have direct rays entering directly into the eyes (the lamp should be enclosed in a lamp housing).

  4. The power of an incandescent table lamp should not exceed 40-60 watts, an LED lamp should not exceed 7-11 watts.

  5. Lamps with a comfortable color temperature for reading and writing – 2700-3500K (warm white light).

  6. The surface of the desk and desk object cases should be glare-free and have reflective details.

  7. It is necessary to have ceiling light in a room.

If your child gets tired quickly and does not want to do homework, it may not be because of laziness, but in the wrong organization of lighting his desktop. Look at the basic requirements. Does the child’s workstation meet the hygiene regulations? By correcting the situation, you will return your child to work and keep his eyes and nervous system healthy.

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