There is mounting evidence that the installation of LED lighting can bring significant benefits to the health, alertness and productivity of night-time personnel.
The ability of LED lighting to engender a more pleasant working environment that can benefit employee health and output is long-established at this point. But what is still emerging is the extent to which it can have a particularly advantageous effect on night-time operations, especially in the industrial and warehousing sectors.
It is only logical that the well-being of night-time workers needs to be prioritised given that, as a recent report by the University of Surrey confirmed (1), altered bedtimes can result in fewer genes displaying a circadian rhythm – that being the clock that regulates the daily cycles of our bodies – with all kinds of long-term implications for health.
All of which means that there is plenty of reason to review warehouse lighting as it’s one of the elements that really can make a major long-term difference to night-workers…
1) Consistency of light output can minimise feelings of sleepiness.
Before we even consider the issue of lighting type, there is the simple fact that multiple studies have shown that being exposed to consistent and high quality light during the night-time period can both reduce feelings of sleepiness and enhance alertness.
In particular, bright lights of more than 1000 lux can serve to suppress melatonin, which is the hormone that ‘anticipates’ darkness and therefore readies the body to sleep.
2) Fluorescent lights were rarely what the doctor ordered…
The spectral distribution at which melatonin is held in check peaks at 464nm, which is a strong blue. So it’s not surprising that manufacturers have consistently sought to imitate the blue-rich day-time environment with lighting systems, but with traditional fluorescent fittings this has often yielded a working environment that was judged to be cold and un-inviting.
3) …But LED lighting can be just the prescription for happier and healthier employees.
One of the many advantages of LED lighting is its ability to support the creation of more nuanced systems that can match very specific working environments. For example, there is scope for more extensive adjustment of the make-up of white light, making it possible for warmer tones to be created – especially important when workers are engaged with re-petitive tasks over extended periods, in which context a sympathetic light environment could hardly be more critical.
4) Healthier employees = more productive employees.
Employees who don’t suffer dips of alertness are inevitably going to be significantly more productive than those fighting tiredness at two or three key points each night. That means less tiredness-related illness, and therefore fewer days lost through sickness.
Hence it is really no exaggeration to say that LED lighting can make a world of difference to a warehouse’s night-time activities.