Foot-candles, lumens, light….

Recently the office building owner retro-fitted all floors with energy efficient globes and sensor switches.  The morning after they had done my floor I walked in and wondered if I had somehow lost my sight on the elevator ride up.

After determining that my eyes were fine but the globes were not,  I asked our Safety Manager if there was a minimum standard of lighting under OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration).   This is America so of course there is!   There is a table for various areas under  OSHA 1926.56 MINIMUM ILLUMINATION INTENSITIES IN FOOT-CANDLES

The minimum illumination for offices is 30 foot-candles.  The safety guy brought his snazzy little reader out and laid it on my desk.   It showed the dim number of 14 foot-candles – in the poor lighting it was actually difficult to read that number on his gauge! 

In case you are now wondering what a foot-candle is ……   well,  one foot-candle is the illuminance at a point on a surface which is one foot from, and perpendicular to, a uniform point source of one candela.  (For those in metric one lux is the illuminance at the same point at a distance of 1 meter from the source).  One lumen uniformly distributed over one square foot of surface provides an illumination of 1 foot-candle.

1 foot-candle = 1 lumen/square ft.          I lux = 1 lumen/square metre.

So……… foot-candle is a measurement of light at an illuminated object and Lumens are a metric equivalent to foot-candles.   It is difficult to measure room illumination more accurately than  ±10%  so usually one foot-candle is considered to be about 10 lux.

Once it was determined without a doubt that I was getting fewer foot-candles than acceptable I sent an email to our building manager drawing attention to the OSHA standards.  Within 20 minutes the building engineer was putting my old globes back.   I now have 38 foot-candles – whilst I am happy to help save the planet I'm not prepared to do it at the expense of my sight!

This is my desk -  no flash on the camera. 




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36 responses

  1. you would have loved my boss from hell… he overlit everything… blinding white. he'd get pissed when he'd come into the office and find we only had 1/3 of the lights on.i applaud your brains to check OSHA!

  2. So are you listed as the trouble maker at work just because you will not work under bad conditions and let me say bad conditions for you! And here they were going to save money by using less power on lighting! Good to know you are not the type to take the bull shit they would try to feed you at work especially when employers seem to get away with that crap more often then they should

  3. How fancy is your desk?? Mine is just a crappy little desk in room, yours has fancy lights and fancy arty stuff and lots of worky looking stuff. Impressive.

  4. And what, pray tell, do you know of safe working dB levels? One of these days I'll take a photo of my desk, and supply audio of the room in which I work. Frightning.
    Your desk looks very impressive. I have horrible fluorescent light tubes above mine which flicker so bad they give me migraines, yet when I turn them off, my boss does his fruit because I dared touch the light switch. I thought being behind a desk for 12 hours per shift, I was entitled to work in comfort! Silly me 😉

  5. So now they're going to redo the security cameras? Is that the next step? Whats behind that glass at the top of the 'art piece'? Is that why they lowered the lights? Glad you stood up for your eyes! And I like the way you've put the crayola's and magazines at the end for people to 'enjoy' themselves instead of bothering you. Hope you have a good weekend 🙂

  6. I don't mind those long life bulbs in a few places around home, but the dining room where I sew, I'm very picky, I like 40/60 watt reveal bulbs in the 2 bulb fixture. I'm thinking I'll have to start hording them before the government outlaws them…

  7. In our stationery closet we have lights that take a couple of hours to brighten up enough to read any of the boxes/packets/booklets, printing toners. We used to turn them on first thing in the morning and leave them on all day. Now there is a sensor switch so they only come on when someone opens the door and there is usually a lot of swearing in there! 🙂

  8. LOL your old boss. I don't like light to be blinding but I definitely like more than "muted" or atmospheric light at work. I wish I had a window with sunlight streaming in.

  9. It is our reception area so it is nicer than the "inside". The back wall was supposed to have a fiber optic display around it but it never got finished. That is the name of our company which I disguised with some fake lights. 🙂

  10. LOL – yes, I'm a trouble maker! I also got the building management to make provision in their budget for a disabled access door to the building after I had so much trouble getting in while I was on crutches.

  11. I'm not sure – they are weird fittings inside those little blue caps. Perhaps they will replace them with brighter energy saving ones as they go out – I think they just wanted to get it resolved quickly on that day and the easiest way to do that was to put my old bulbs back in.

  12. LOL Vicola you make me laugh. When we first moved into this office I had a funky old table on trestles. This one was built around me – it would have to be broken up with a sledge hammer if they ever decided to replace it.

  13. Behind the glass is a coat closet. We put visitor's coats and luggage (if they have just flown in for a meeting) in there. I hang my coat in there too because I don't have a hook on the back of a door – it does feel strange to be locking it safely in though! LOL – those are free magazines and coupons for various local businesses and the visitors sign in book. The pen is chained to the desk…

  14. LOL – I imagine there will be a few horders of those more decent bulbs. The manservant put efficient lighting in the laundry – the ones that take ages to warm up enough to see by. I had to ask him to swap them out because I had to wait too long to be able to read the dials on the washing machine!

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