When working in harsh and hazardous areas, ensuring worker safety requires constant attention. In refineries, chemical plants, and production areas, operating conditions are a constant challenge. Changing a single lamp can be expensive and possibly even dangerous. Safe, efficient and cost-effective lighting is paramount in these environments.
The right lighting strategy can keep workers safe in hazardous areas while also providing significant cost savings. These are the four biggest benefits lighting brings to the oil and gas industry.
Dim or inefficient lighting is a real safety issue for workers. When designing an appropriate lighting system, you will need to consider major factors such as illumination levels, light-loss factors, uniformity, glare, color rendering index, and correlated color temperature. Working in dark spots or shadows increases the risk of injuries and accidents. Better lighting in hazardous areas increases overall worker safety and can also improve productivity.
Longer Life Means Reduced Maintenance
Replacing lighting in hazardous areas results in costly repairs and safety concerns. What if you could essentially eliminate these maintenance costs? The right lighting strategy can do just that. LED retrofit fixtures significantly reduce maintenance costs and labor time.
LED lighting has many benefits compared to incandescent lamps, including: • Longer life • Fewer lamp replacements • SKU reduction
Energy Savings and Sustainability
The great thing about good lighting is that it increases safety while reducing costs across the board. Upgrading to an LED lighting system can result in millions of dollars in labor and energy savings. LED lights require less maintenance, last longer, and use less energy.
While the upfront cost of a lighting upgrade may seem daunting, there is no doubt that savings will result in the long run. The payback period on a large-scale upgrade can be around two and a half years.
Having the right lighting strategy can also give organizations the push they need to reach sustainability goals. Lighting is usually a large part of an organization’s energy use. But with LED lights, you can enjoy a well-lit environment that actually uses much less energy. These lights use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer.
Reducing energy consumption comes in more forms than just electricity. An effective lighting retrofit also results in lower carbon dioxide emissions and less water use.
OSHA Safety Standard Compliance
Not all work areas are created equal. The area in which your lights are located dictates the kind of lighting that can be used. This is due to the various types of hazardous materials that may be present. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) define these areas by classes, divisions and groups in accordance to the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70.
These classifications are determined based on the properties of the flammable vapors, liquids or gases, or combustible dusts or fibers that may be present therein, and the likelihood that a flammable or combustible concentration or quantity is present. Understanding and staying up to date on any changes in all of these environments can be challenging. This makes having a supplier partner valuable.
Make a Hazardous Environment Less Hazardous
Working in an oil refinery or chemical plant presents a whole range of safety issues. But the right lighting can increase worker safety and confidence, all while showing significant cost savings. The right lighting can work to make these hazardous environments a little less hazardous.
In some industries, things are relatively stable from year to year. While manufacturing was done in much the same way for many years, emerging trends promise to change that. An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) must be resourceful and search for opportunities to stay competitive in an increasingly volatile market. While there may be challenges ahead, applying industry best practices will help any manufacturer operate at the top of their game.
Step outside and you’ll notice that the air is brisk and people are bundled up in coats. Winter is upon us. And while that brings festive parties and holiday deals, winter means extra strains on wire and cable. Cold temperatures and atmospheric changes that come with winter weather can impact the effectiveness of some cabling materials. Prepare for cool weather and winter storms to ensure uninterrupted operation that’s reliable every day of the year.
Article originally published Sept. 2, 2016, and updated for accuracy and relevance.
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