Glare as a specific risk factor in the working environment

 

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Fig. 1. Direct glare form task luminaire on non-stationary workplaces

Glare is the condition of vision in which there is a discomfort resulting from the reduction of visual capability due to an unsuitable distribution of luminance, or due to an extreme contrasts in space or time. There are three main types of glare: discomfort glare, disability glare and blinding glare.  All three types of glare occur in the working environment and should be taken into consideration during the occupational risk assessment as they can generate occupational accident hazards and adversely affects visual fatigue and work efficiency. Therefore, glare is perceived as one of the indirect causes of the occupational accidents. The hazard is different depending on the glare type. On non-stationary workplaces, where temporary lighting is used (see fig. 1), the maximum luminance of the glare source as well as the background luminance, which controls the adaptation level of the eyes, should be measured and then used for the occupational risk assessment. Measurements should be taken in the worst visual conditions, when the exposure of the workers to glare is the greatest.

Only two parameters: source luminance and background luminance enable identification of the occupational risk related to glare. The proposal of criteria for glare type assessment on non-stationary workplaces, which could be easily implemented for measurements and occupational risk assessment are presented in the table no.1.

Through the employers’ practical implementation of the worked out criteria for risk assessment related to glare at the workplace, the occupational risk related to this factor may be limited as well as eye strain and visual fatigue.

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The article has been written on the basis of the project “Study on a glare influence on elderly visual perception for the Unified Glare Rating (UGR) determination in indoor lighting designing”, carried out within the National Programme “Improvement of Safety and Working Conditions” 2011-2013, partly supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. CIOP-PIB was the Programme’s main coordinator.

Contact: Agnieszka Wolska (CIOP-PIB), agwol@ciop.pl

 

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