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Part 4 General Conditions

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4.64 Definitions

In sections 4.64 to 4.69

"brightness ratio" means for any 2 surfaces in the field of vision, the ratio of the luminance of one surface to the luminance of the other surface, expressed as a percentage;

"contrast" means the ratio of the luminance or light coming from an object and the luminance of its immediate background;

"general lighting" means an array of light fixtures that provides a fairly uniform illumination level for a large area, sometimes over the whole workplace, exclusive of any provision for special local lighting;

"glare" means brightness within the field of vision that causes eye fatigue or loss in visual performance;

"illumination level" means the amount of light falling on a surface;

"local lighting" means a light fixture or array of fixtures that provides illumination over a small area such as a service counter in a warehouse, without providing any significant general lighting in the surrounding area;

"luminance" means the amount of light reflected by a surface at a given angle;

"reflectance" means the ratio of the light reflected from a surface to that falling on the surface, expressed as a percentage.

4.65 Illumination levels

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section and section 4.69, an employer must provide and maintain minimum illumination levels to ensure safe working conditions, safe passage and the identification of hazards or obstructions as follows:

(a) 22 lux (2 fc) in areas of low activity, such as parking lots, building exteriors, outside areas and basement areas housing machinery, but which are not regular task areas;

(b) 54 lux (5 fc) in areas of high activity, such as frequently used walkways and building access and egress points.

(1.1) Cap lamps or other local sources of illumination acceptable to the Board must be used if the light intensity in a work area is less than 22 lux (2 fc) and it is impracticable to provide illumination by any other means.

(2) For tasks which require the ability to distinguish detail an employer must provide and maintain illumination as required by Table 4-1.

(3) For work processes which require lower illumination levels than those specified in subsections (1) and (2), such as photographic darkrooms, fish hatching rooms and poultry catching operations, the employer may use other effective means to ensure the safety of workers.

       [Amended by B.C. Reg. 20/2008, effective May 1, 2008.]

Table 4-1 : Illumination levels for task categories
Task category Examples1 Minimum 2 illumination
level in lux
1. Simple orientation for short temporary visits Inactive storage, waiting areas, VDT screens, log loading and unloading. 50
2. Working spaces where visual tasks are only occasionally performed Stairways, freight elevators, truck loading, active bulk storage. 100
3. Visual tasks of high contrast or large size Bakery mixing rooms, hospital central (clean) linen rooms, locker rooms, reading good quality text, casual reading, simple assembly, hand or simple spray painting, rough lumber grading, rough woodworking and benchwork. 200
4. Visual tasks of medium contrast or small size Hair styling shops, kitchens, vehicle repair garages, sawmill filing room (work areas), reading poor quality text, prolonged or critical reading, medium bench or machine work, mail sorting, fine hand painting and finishing, fine woodworking and finishing. 500
5. Visual tasks of low contrast or very small size Difficult assembly tasks, difficult inspections, weaving, clothing alteration, finished lumber grading. 1,000
6. Visual tasks of low contrast and very small size over a prolonged period Very difficult assembly tasks, sewing, fine bench or machine work, extra-fine hand painting and finishing. 2,000
7. Very prolonged and exacting visual tasks Exacting assembly or inspection, extra fine bench or machine work, precision manual arc-welding. 5,000
8. Very special visual tasks of extremely low contrast and small size Very detailed cloth product inspection and examination. 10,000

Note 1: Further guidance in determining task categories that apply to specific work areas and activities is contained in the IES Handbook. This publication also provides information on acceptable measures to control brightness, reflectance and glare.

Note 2: The lux is the metric unit of light measurement, and replaces the footcandle (fc), which was the traditional imperial unit of measurement. One lux equals about one tenth of a footcandle. For example, the minimum illumination in footcandles for task category number 4, which is common in the office environment, is about 50 footcandles.

4.66 Means of illumination

The lighting required by section 4.65 must be provided by general or local lighting, or an effective combination of the two.

4.67 Brightness, reflectance and glare

As far as practicable, the workplace must be designed and maintained in such a manner to adequately control

(a) brightness ratios,

(b) reflectance values, and

(c) glare.

4.68 Illumination measurement

(1) The measurement of illumination must be done in accordance with the procedures in the Lighting Handbook -- Reference and Application, 8th Edition, 1993 (IES Handbook) published by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.

(2) A photometer used to measure illumination levels must be colour and cosine corrected.

       [Amended by B.C. Reg. 312/2003, effective October 29, 2003.]

* See also section 4.4 of the OHS Regulation.
4.69 Emergency lighting

(1) If failure of a lighting system would create conditions dangerous to the health and safety of workers, an emergency lighting system must be provided for the workplace and the exit routes.

(2) An emergency lighting system must provide dependable illumination while the primary lighting system is off to enable all emergency measures to be carried out, including

(a) emergency shutdown procedures, and

(b) evacuation of workers from the premises.

(3) An emergency lighting system in a fixed facility must meet the requirements of section 3.2.7 (Lighting and Emergency Power Systems) of the BC Building Code with regard to

(a) illumination level,

(b) use of recessed fixtures,

(c) duration of emergency lighting,

(d) the use of self-contained emergency lighting units, and

(e) emergency electrical power supply.

(4) The emergency lighting system must be inspected, tested and maintained to meet the requirements of section 6.8 (Emergency Power Systems and Unit Equipment for Emergency Lighting) of the BC Fire Code.

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Employers are legally obligated to make a copy of the Workers' Compensation Act and the OHS Regulation readily available for review by workers. The circumstances under which WorkSafeBC may consider an employer's providing access to electronic versions of the Act and OHS Regulation to have satisfied this obligation are described in Guideline G-D3-115(2)(f).