PFM 20 9 - Page 6

How Human-Centric Lighting Can Help
Shift Workers
reenlite Group’s MD Bob Hall
explains how we can support
productivity by providing the right
lighting solution
As you turn out the light and huddle
down in bed tonight, spare a thought for
the three million plus night workers,
beavering away across Britain. Whilst we
slip gently into sleep, they are wideawake. From A&E medics saving lives,
to midwives birthing babies, night
cleaners and the drivers who keep our
transport network up and running, a
massive one in eight employees now
works between 9pm and 6am.
The cost of night shifts
But, while shift work brings the
advantage of flexibility and often better
pay, research increasingly shows that
regularly working nights can come at a
price. It leads to a disjointed lifestyle,
which heaps pressure on our already
hectic family lives and can cause tension
within our relationships; so much so that
shift workers are thought to have higher
divorce rates.
The impact is physical too. Wide-ranging
studies have linked shift work to heart
disease, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and
Organisation has even classed it as a
possible carcinogen, because of the
disruptive effect it has on our Circadian
rhythm, the 24 hour internal clock that
tells our bodies when to be alert, when
to eat and when to sleep.
Lighting support
Nevertheless, society and our economy
needs shift workers to keep it ticking over
24/7. So, how can we use the advances
in lighting to support employees who
work unnatural hours, help them work
efficiently and ensure they remain as
healthy as possible?
Greenlite Group suggests installing
human-centric lighting, which uses a
broad colour spectrum and range of
intensity to support people’s natural
rhythms. Used wisely, human-centric
lighting may aid our body clocks, helping
us feel alert when we need to, and
improving our mood and productivity in
the process.
incandescent bulbs, human-centric LED
lighting offers a more flexible, bespoke
solution. The light intensity and colour
can be finely tuned and adjusted across
a far broader range throughout a 24
period, to suit the specific needs of the
staff. This makes it ideal for a shift work
setting, which involves the need for
people to be wide awake when their
bodies would naturally crave sleep.
For example, staff clocking on for a night
shift can benefit from more intense light
in a cooler colour, which supresses the
production of melatonin and helps
stimulate their brains and bodies. The
solution will vary according to the
situation – staff working regular night
shifts will benefit from a different
lighting pattern to those who are only
nocturnal on occasion.
Improved safety and productivity
A well-lit work environment will help
staff be more alert and productive, not
to mention happier and less likely to
make mistakes or suffer accidents. It
also stands to reason that if a night
worker is stimulated into an alert state
during the night shift, their body will
then be ready to wind down into muchneeded sleep during the day. This
restorative ‘off duty’ sleep is vital for any
employee’s mental and physical
wellbeing, plus it creates a happy circle,
because they’ll function efficiently and
safely when they clock back onto work.
Put simply, by exposing shift workers
to the right lighting at the right time, we
can help them develop a pattern of
wakefulness and sleep that supports
their working schedule. Human-centric
lighting systems can help staff perform
efficiently and safely, improving
productivity in the process.
Reader Reply No: 209013


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