Approx. 80 % of all information is received via the human eye. Without light (artificial light or daylight) people feel helpless. In the extreme case the absence of light can cause panic. That is why an emergency lighting system must be provided wherever people cometogether in any numbers.
Main functions of the emergency lighting system
- Indicating the escape routes (illuminated escape signs)
- Indicating the emergency exits (illuminated escape signs)
- Illuminating escape routes (safety lighting for escape routes)
- Illuminating obstacles, e.g. stairs, door sills, materials and equipment
(safety lighting for escape routes / standby lighting)
- Illuminating hazardous workstations (standby lighting)
In the case of an acute danger it is assumed that people will respond to their feelings rather than to reason. Emergency lighting systems should therefore be designed to guide people to safety subconsciously (European Standard EN 60598-2-22, July 1990, and ÖVE - EN2 / draft 5/91).
Emergency lighting is designed to be available when the power supply to the regular lighting system fails. Emergency lighting comprises safety lighting for escape routes and standby lighting.
Safety lighting is installed separately from the regular lighting system and must operate for a certain length of time, depending on the type of premises and activities involved, in the interest of general safety and accident prevention. The safety lighting system takes over when the power supply to the regular lighting system fails.
Safety lighting for escape routes
These safety lighting systems are needed to illuminate escape routes at a certain minimum illuminance for a certain length of time, depending on the type of premises and activities involved, so as to ensure safe and complete evacuation:
- 1 x at the weakest point on the midline of escape routes measured 0.2 m
above the floor or steps
- 1,25 x initial lumens
- max. 15 s switching delay
Safety lighting for hazardous workstations
Safety lighting is also required to permit hazardous working to be terminated safely and the workstation to be evacuated. Safety lighting for hazardous workstations is also required for escape routes which pass through such zones:
- 0,1 x service illuminance pursuant to EN 12464, but at least 15 lx
- 1,25 x initial lumens
- at least color rendition class 3
- max. 0.5 to 1 s switching delay
Standby lighting is the part of the emergency lighting system that permits
normal activities to be continued or safely terminated. Standby lighting is
primarily provided for operational reasons to prevent loss of production caused
by a failure in the general lighting system.
Regulations and Standards
The relevant document is EN 12464 Part 5 (emergency lighting for interiors and outdoor areas similarly employed). Observance of the standard largely ensures compliance with the lighting requirements laid down in the relevant legislation relating to industrial safety, accident prevention, hazardous premises, and construction law.