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Emergency Lighting For Substations

Guest Andrew

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Guest Andrew



We have two install jobs for wind-farm substations.

Our equipment is inside a few shipping containers and separated into two sections. with each section having emergency exit doors straight outside. These are usually unmanned premises with occasional maintenance visits i.e. 3 monthly.

We have lit emergency exit signs at each door but we are wondering if we need more emergency lighting. Where would I find the specifics for this kind of building as BS 5266 etc seem to concentrate on occupied premises?

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Emergency escape lighting is to enable occupants to easily and safely escape from the premises in the event of an emergency if the normal lighting should fail.

When people are working in the premise then it is occupied premises and in a small space like you have described an illuminated exit box should be sufficient to achieve this.

The level of illumination is low compared with normal lighting check it out in BS 5266 page 24.

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Internally illuminated exit signs are, by their very nature, signs and not lighting, they don't produce any appreciable illumination except (in some designs) a down light to illuminate door furniture.

If you class the areas as escape routes they need 1 lux of lighting to the centre line.

If you class them as an open area (over 60 square metres) they need 0.5 lux as anti panic lighting.

If the areas don't fall into either then it is down to risk assessment of the areas which would lead you to either:

- Provide emergency lighting fittings

- Provide nothing and just rely on the exit signs

- Provide alternatives such as hand-lamps (as infrequently accessed areas the provision of torches could be part of a permit to access)

There is however another reason in BS5266 that may make you go for emergency lighting. Working in a substation could potentially be deemed a high risk task process - if you need decent lighting to safely disengage from the work you are carrying out then you would need to provide at least 15 lux (or 10% of the normal lighting levels, whichever is greater) although you would only need to maintain this high level for as long as necessary to safely deal with the task, which is usually considerably less time than the usual 3 hour rating of emergency lighting.

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