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Emergency Lighting

photo-emergenylightingDo we need emergency lighting?

Yes you do. This is a primary life safety system which is required to assist the occupants of any premises to evacuate in the event of an emergency.

Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment Guide

Emergency Lighting is a life safety system and is required, where necessary, to be provided in premises where people are employed. The necessity of emergency lighting, its type and its location are all defined through risk assessment. It should be noted that it is the responsibility of the landlord, occupier or tenant to carry out risk assessment and ensure compliance with fire precaution requirements.

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Do we need emergency lighting? Yes this is a primary life safety system which is required to assist the occupants of any premises to evacuate in the event of an emergency.

emergencylistingnotes

Emergency Lighting Risk Assessment Guide - Effective Date: JULY 1999

Emergency Lighting is a life safety system and is required, where necessary, to be provided in premises where people are employed. The necessity of emergency lighting, its type and its location are all defined through risk assessment. It should be noted that it is the responsibility of the landlord, occupier or tenant to carry out risk assessment and ensure compliance with fire precaution requirements.

Workplace regulations 1997 and employers guide fire and safety 1999.

What is Risk Assessment?

The HSE’s publication Fire-Safety – An employer’s guide, details the “risk assessment” procedure to be used, in Parts 1 & 2 of that Guide.

Fire risk assessment is a five-fold process:

  • STEP 1 Identify Fire Hazards
  • STEP 2 Identify People at Risk in Fire
  • STEP 3 Evaluate the risk including:
    • Is Means of Escape adequate? (Escape safe area required in 2-3 minutes)
    • Is Employee Training to the required standard?
    • Are Maintenance & Testing to the required standards?
    • Carry Out Improvements Necessary
  • STEP 4 Record all Findings and Action taken
  • STEP 5 Keep Assessment under Review


Reducing the Risk by Adopting Engineered Solutions

Proactive review and careful consideration leading to fire prevention and efficient escape routes, greatly reduce the risk to employees. For example:

  • Dangers to staff resulting from power failures can be minimised by placing the incoming mains electrical supply in a low risk area. However, to minimise all risks the provision of Emergency Lighting should be in all areas, not just the escape routes to minimise all risks.
  • If the lighting final circuits do not correspond with the fire compartmentation, then the non maintained emergency lighting may not operate when required and maintained emergency lighting should be used to reduce that risk.
  • The elderly, the disabled or partially sighted people may obstruct life saving escape routes. Consequently, higher emergency illuminance levels of at least 1 lux* may help people to see more clearly and ensure the safe exit of both the disadvantaged and those able-bodied people who assist them.
  • If potential obstructions exist on the escape route, such as stair treads, barriers and walls at right angles, BS5266 advises that they should be light in colour against a contrasting background. Higher emergency illuminances of at least 1 lux* can be installed to reduce the risk where contrasts are not appropriate.
  • Where there is a possibility of a high physical risk, a further increase in emergency illuminance and a rapid response time will reduce that risk.
  • If there is the possibility of arson, this may necessitate the installation of intruder and fire detection alarm systems, in addition to emergency lighting.
  • Consideration must be given to the length of the escape route, the fire risk, as well as the number of people in the premises, during assessment of emergency lighting and signage. To assess the escape route it may be helpful if the people are timed in escaping from the building during a fire practice in mains failure conditions. If appropriate, higher illuminance or repeat signage may reduce the escape time.
  • If there are public or temporary workers who are unfamiliar with the layout of the building then higher illuminance or more signs may be required.
  • If the escape route passes through open areas, emergency lighting and signage should be installed.
  • If an area is larger than 60m2, emergency lighting and signage should be installed.
  • If 5 or more people are employed in the premises, it is recommended that the emergency lighting should be provided by an installation of fixed luminaires, which are automatically switched on upon failure of the normal lighting supply.


Advice on the suitability and location of the escape routes can be obtained from the local fire authority or by consulting the appropriate Home Office guide.
* 1 lux is the requirement of BS5266 Part 1/7/8 & EN 1838 for escape routes 0.5 lux for open area’s.
We can provide a comprehensive checklist for Risk Assessment of emergency lighting installations.


8W Fluorescent Tube Life

  • Manufacturer’s data indicates a useful life of 5-9,000 hrs. After this time the tube will run less efficiently, the ends will become blackened and the light output reduced. At 70% of tube life the lumen output will have fallen to around 65% of its original value.
  • 70% of tube life will be after a time range of 3,500-6,300 hours for maintained fittings. If the tube is run for 12 hours/day this equates to 252-525 days.
  • If the tube is run for 24 hour/day these figures fall to 146-263 days.
  • If initial design does not have more than 35% of safety margin then the lux levels provided at 70% of tube life may fall below specified requirements.
  • Regular inspection of tube indicate whether or not it requires changing.
  • Intervals for inspection should be 6 months and it is recommended tubes are changed at least every 6 months.


PLEASE NOTE:Ensure when replacing tubes that they are the correct make and colour. Use either Hybec or Sylvainia tubes.    

System and Duration

  • The required system type and minimum duration of the emergency lighting after the supply to the normal lighting has failed is specified in BS5266. The system type and duration required will depend upon the type of premises and the associated risks. Luminaires should be assessed for system type (Non Maintained /  Maintained/Combined) and subjected to a discharge test to establish their full duration capability.

Luminaire Quality and the ICEL Product Registration Scheme

  • ICEL provides a scheme of product registration through which luminaire performance is authenticated and assured. All ICEL registered luminaires, as well as being photometrically verified, are approved for safety and performance by an accredited test laboratory such as BSI.
  • Emergency lighting luminaires used on escape routes are required to be fire retardant (850C glow wire tested). Registration of products through the ICEL Product Registration Scheme assures compliance with this requirement. It also assures the user that the products have been certified to EN 69598-2-22: 1999 and are manufactured within a facility operating a scheme of quality assurance approved to BSEN ISO9001 or BSEN ISO9002.
  • Details of the ICEL Product Registration Schemes are provided within ICE1 1001.

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