Trends for Flashlight Safety in the Workplace
By: Jane Marsh, Contributor
Industrial workplaces today are safer than ever before. Workplace injuries have steadily decreased in recent decades as companies have taken safety more seriously and technology has provided new opportunities. Advancements in personal protective equipment (PPE) are a substantial part of this trend.
One piece of PPE that often goes overlooked or underappreciated is the flashlight. While not every facility needs these tools, they’re an indispensable part of workplace safety in those that do.
The Need for Flashlight Safety
Sufficient lighting is essential to keep workplaces safe and productive. Poor visibility can make it harder to spot hazards, leading to dangerous situations that would otherwise be easy to avoid. Similarly, employees may misread labels without enough light, leading them to mishandle hazardous items or misunderstand safety protocol.
Studies also show that even artificial light can significantly improve health outcomes like depression, agitation and sleep issues. When workers don’t suffer from these conditions, they can pay more attention to physical safety.
While flashlights are relatively straightforward tools, they still feature many opportunities for innovation. Here are a few growing trends for flashlight safety in the workplace.
Traditionally, flashlights use incandescent bulbs. However, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are far more efficient. In an LED light, 80 to 90% of the power goes directly to the bulb, whereas conventional lightbulbs typically waste 80% of their electricity. LEDs are also often brighter, providing more visibility with less power.
LEDs have already overtaken incandescent bulbs in consumer segments, but many workplaces are only recently switching over. Since flashlights don’t immediately come to mind as essential PPE, it’s easy to overlook upgrading them. As companies put more emphasis on new PPE, though, this trend is shifting.
Another rising trend in flashlight safety is using lights that workers don’t have to hold. Sufficient light is crucial for safe operation in many workplaces, but if workers can only use one hand while providing that light, its benefits are minimal. As a result, many workplaces are turning to new light types that enable hands-free operation.
Headlights are common in industries like mining but less so in warehouse and factory settings. Lights that clip onto workers’ vests or shoulders are a more popular hands-free alternative in these workplaces.
New Power Sources
More workplaces today are also looking for flashlights that move away from the single-use batteries of the past. Part of that is because more manufacturers are striving for sustainability, and part of it is a need for longer-lasting power sources. USB rechargeable batteries are a popular option, but some new options offer more sustainable alternatives.
Since LED flashlights don’t require much electricity, they’re an ideal candidate for self-powering technologies. Internal components can generate energy from movement as workers carry them throughout the day. Others may feature solar panels that can charge by windows while not in use. Options like this remove environmentally harmful batteries from the equation and reduce energy bills.
Integration With Other PPE
As PPE advances, some companies are integrating flashlights into other pieces of equipment. Some safety vests now include built-in LEDs to light the way in front of workers. In other cases, work shoes feature 400-lumen LEDs or gloves place miniature lights at employees’ fingertips.
Combining flashlights with other PPE takes hands-free operation to the next level. Companies will only have to buy one piece of equipment to serve several needs. This integration also helps keep light in line with workers’ walking direction and field of view, improving visibility.
Lighting Is Crucial for Workplace Safety
Light is easy to overlook as a safety consideration, but it makes a substantial difference. These recent flashlight trends help address that issue, making this PPE more efficient, useful and safe than ever before. Workers across industries will be able to work safely as a result. WMHS
Jane Marsh is an independent writer who covers topics in green technology and manufacturing. She also works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co.
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