Can Office Lighting Affect My Workers?

Professional environments can have significant effects on workers with factors such as productivity, concentration, mood and even health at risk. Environmental factors can include temperature, space, air quality and lighting. Lighting is often an overlooked issue but it can be hugely influential to an employee and an overall workplace environment. We will take a look at how lighting can affect workers and what the best solution may be to combat this.


It may seem like an obvious point but different activities require different levels of brightness. The problem with this is that many workplace environments offer a standard brightness level, regardless of the work which is being completed. Work which requires high levels of concentration e.g. manufacture is going to require a different type of lighting to standard office work. Working under dim lighting can have a variety of drawbacks, especially if the work requires concentration. Under these circumstances the eyes are forced to work harder which can lead to strain, headaches, drowsiness and eventually a lull in productivity.

The solution to this particular problem is simple- tailor your lighting to the job at hand. Introducing dimmer switches will allow you to offer a range of different brightness levels and will offer a certain degree of control to employees.

Natural vs. Artificial

One of the main consequences of working indoors is the necessity of artificial lighting. Natural lighting can have biological and psychological effects on the body, for example when we are exposed to natural light the body realises its daytime and we feel awake and alert. This same cannot be said for artificial lighting which can confuse the body. As well as affecting alertness, it has been shown that artificial lighting can negatively affect mood, the immune system and even the endocrine system.

Combating this problem can be difficult as space comes at a premium and only so many windows can be installed within a building. Fortunately there are ways in which to get around this issue. For example introducing mirrors within strategic places can help to bounce natural light throughout the workplace. You could also consider basing a meeting place, such as a water cooler or eating area within a part of the building which receives lots of natural light. This way employees will be periodically exposed to this type of light, if only for a short amount of time. This is an incredibly important issue for business owners, as it has been shown that exposure to natural light and overall productivity are inextricably linked.


Due to location or orientation, some buildings have very little natural lighting, if any at all. When this is the case, artificial lighting is the only option and so choosing the right type becomes pivotal. Fluorescent lighting is a popular choice due to its energy efficiency and cheap running costs but it can be unforgiving in a working environment. LED bulbs are often a better option as they are available in a wide range of colours and brightness’s. They can also be connected with a phone or tablet and controlled via Bluetooth. This way, the colour and brightness of these lights can be changed at the tap of a button, offering a greater degree of versatility for working environments.

Utilising a variety of different lighting types could be the best solution. Mimicking natural light involves more than a standard overhead bulb. Placing lights within alcoves or even under desks can create a much more comfortable atmosphere and therefore more favourable working conditions.

A Guide to Fire Safety Information for Landlords

Landlords have many obligations when it comes to health and safety within their buildings and protection against fire is no different. The regulations which cover fire safety include both the Housing Act (2004) and the Regulatory Reform or Fire Safety Order (2005). In accordance with the Fire Safety Order, landlords or their equivalent (building managers, owners etc.) become the ‘responsible person’ of their premises. This person is obliged to complete a fire risk assessment for their property and make any necessary modifications in accordance with this assessment. The overall process can become quite complex due to the various combinations of factors which can affect many premises. With this in mind, the following is a quick and simple guide to fire safety information for landlords.


When completing a fire risk assessment, the landlord’s first step is to identify potential hazards and any individuals who could be at risk. When inspecting a property for hazards, the responsible person should look for three different things- sources of ignition, sources of fuel and oxygen. Sources of ignition can include everything from cigarettes and electrical equipment to candles and even lighting. Sources of fuel, which is basically everything but obviously highly flammable materials will be most at risk. Finally, the responsible person should take into account sources of oxygen but this will normally be the same across standard properties.

Another important aspect of the risk assessment is identifying the potential escape route available to residents and employees. The landlord should look into factors such as room arrangement, outdoor fire escapes and communal areas.

When identifying people at risk, the assessment should not only cover those that live or work at the premises but anyone who could possibly be there during a fire. This can include, friends, family members and custodial workers. The landlord should then assess how each person will escape the property in the event of fire. Considerations should be made to age, language barriers and disability as well as many other important factors.


Once all of the hazards have been identified as well as the people at risk, the responsible person should make the necessary changes to remove these hazards. Obviously, not all risk can be removed from an environment but the landlord can make all of reasonable modifications available. This can include a wide range of changes, including the installation of fire detection systems, extinguishers or even fire doors. Landlords may also have to create an emergency plan which include information on any special considerations given to particular individuals. All of those involved should be informed of these changes and the responsible person is obliged to offer further information. This can include fire safety tips for residents and possibly even training sessions for workers.


Safety measures are only effective as long as they still apply. It is for this reason that landlords are required to review their fire risk assessments regularly. The regularity of this review is up to the responsible person but the more frequent the better. Also, a review should be carried out immediately if any changes take place within the premises, e.g. new residents move in, the layout is changed, heating changes etc.

It should also be noted that the responsible person will have to complete a new fire risk assessment if there are any changes within the legislation (unless otherwise stated).

This is only a brief look at fire safety information for landlords. Much more information can be found online, including further details on the risk assessment process. Landlords can also find out more about the type of buildings which are affected by this legislation and whether this is relevant to them.

The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 – Do You Know Your Responsibilities?

Open book

We all know the dangers of fire and the terrible devastation it can cause and as a business owner you have a legal responsibility to ensure that the chances of it happening on your premises are as limited as is reasonably possible.  That’s a big responsibility but it’s reassuring to know that the majority of fires are preventable if the right behaviours and procedures are adopted in relation to fire safety management.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was put in place by The Government to provide small and medium-sized businesses in England and Wales with a framework from which to work. If you are new to fire safety, it being a new responsibility to yourself, or if you’re setting up a new business, then it’s important you make yourself familiar with what your responsibilities are.

Who is responsible for fire safety will depend upon the individual circumstances of your business.  It’s officially defined as ‘the responsible person’, which for you could mean the employer, the managing agent or owner of the premises or the occupier, or even a mix of all of those.

If you don’t know where to start the good news is there are several sources where you can find detailed information, which I’ve listed for you at the bottom of the page.  This is by no means an exhaustive list and please bear in mind information has a tendency to change as new and amended guidance is introduced.

Here’s a quick overview for you of what your business is responsible for:

  1. Fire Safety Risk Assessments – the aim of this exercise is to identify any potential fire hazards and also the people within your premises who may be at risk, especially those who may be at greater risk either because of the location of their work or because they have special needs. This must be done regularly and thoroughly with findings noted as well as any actions carried out as a result.  You may wish to do this at the same time as your other risk assessments. You can find guidance on what your fire safety risk assessment should include here.
  2. Risk reduction – you must take action against any hazards identified in your fire risk assessment and either eliminate or minimise the risk as much as is reasonably possible.  This will include things such as ensuring any flammable substances on the premises are kept well away from sources of ignition, securing heaters so they cannot be knocked over, keeping on top of clearing rubbish, such as old cardboard boxes which could easily ignite. Risk reduction measures also include the presence of the correct type of fire fighting equipment and ensuring its upkeep with routine maintenance and regular testing of the apparatus. There should be adequate early detection and warning systems.  Again, every risk reduction measure implemented should be recorded.
  3. Planning – map out a fire safety and evacuation plan detailing what needs to happen in the event of a fire and what plans are in place to ensure people are able to evacuate as quickly as possible.  This includes keeping exit routes clear and clearly signed, installation and maintenance of easy to use emergency doors and allocating a safe meeting point.
  4. Training – ensure all employees are trained on what to do in the event of a fire as well as advising them of any new fire risks as and when they occur.  Also make them aware of who they need to advise of any fire hazards they encounter. It is your responsibility to carry out a minimum of one fire drill each year, the results of which must be recorded.
  5. Consideration – you must take into consideration all potential users of your property, not just employees.  This change was introduced to the 2005 update and ensures that risks are minimised not just for employees but for anyone else who may be on the premises such as visitors or members of the public.

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