Safety lighting saves lives
If you’re looking to install, upgrade or replace your emergency lighting, we’ve got everything you need to know to make sure you’re following all the necessary UK health and safety guidelines.
What is emergency lighting and why is it needed?
Emergency lighting, otherwise known as safety or anti-panic lighting, provides light for people to safely evacuate the area when a blackout occurs in public or private buildings, indoor car parks etc.
Another form of emergency lighting is replacement lighting. In the event of a power failure, replacement lighting kicks in and sheds enough light to allow delicate work to be terminated safely - this is vital for workplaces such as laboratories where there is a risk of severe injury or death due to exposure to chemicals and toxins.
Emergency lighting isn’t just there to tick a health and safety box - it’s there to save lives.
How does emergency lighting work in the event of a power failure?
Emergency lighting is powered independently by a rechargeable battery or secondary back-up generator, which is why they don't cut out when you lose power from your main power supply.
What regulations apply to emergency lighting?
In the UK the minimum duration for emergency lighting to run following a power failure is three hours under UK guidance document BS 5266-1 Emergency lighting – Part 1: Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises.
The UK Guidance document also states a building can be re-entered following a power failure if there is significant emergency lighting to meet minimum safety requirements.
Safety lighting should consist of lights which illuminate escape routes and signs indicating the direction of escape routes, safety-relevant facilities and emergency exits.
Relevant requirements for emergency lighting are
Installation of emergency lights 2 m above the ground
Escape route lighting with 1 lux over a width of at least 2 m
Colour rendering index (CRI) of lights of at least Ra 40
Reduction of strong light/dark contrasts thanks to uniform illuminance
Signs and lighting at emergency exits
Marking of all changes of direction of the escape routes
Emergency lighting at first aid stations and fire extinguishers
The mounting height of the safety lighting needs to be at least 2 m above the ground. Illuminance needs to be at least 1 lux.
Escape routes need to be illuminated at least 2 metres wide.
Where stairs and other changes of level are involved, lighting must not exceed 2 metres from the ground.
Safety-relevant facilities, e.g. fire extinguishers, need to be illuminated by emergency lighting.
In addition to emergency lighting, an escape plan must also be displayed in a visible position for employees, visitors and emergency services.
What bulbs are used in emergency lighting?
The bulbs used in emergency lighting are usually LEDs, powered by a back-up generator or rechargeable batteries. The major advantage of using LEDs in emergency lighting is their energy efficiency as they last longer than any other type of bulb and require less maintenance.
Need to install, upgrade or replace your current emergency lighting?
We work with some of the world's leading manufacturers in emergency lighting, including Fischer Akkumulatorentechnik, Ledino, Osram and Steinel.
Example of an escape sign for marking escape and rescue routes with a recognition range of 16 m.
Example of a light for illuminating escape and rescue routes with an automatic self-checking system, for greater safety.
Example of anti-panic lighting. If the power supply is working, it’s switched off. If there’s an interruption, it switches on within half a second for at least three hours.
Would you like to learn more about emergency lighting? Or any other topic related to safety or anti-panic lighting? If so, our friendly team of experts would love to answer any questions you may have. Call today on +353 1 699 2138 or contact us via email.