Too much light, too little, or lighting placed wrong can cause a wrong working position. Bad lighting can cause eye discomfort, headache, and neck strains.



If the lighting is bad, you cannot see properly. So poor lighting can result in: Tired eyes, headaches, after-images - you see black spots caused by glare and risk of accidents.

To prevent the above problems, it is important to ensure that workplace lighting is satisfactory. The strength of the lighting should be sufficient for the type of work to be done.

Lighting should help prevent damage and accidents. In addition to the strength of the lighting, it is important for light not to dazzle and that it is placed where you need it.

Light strength is measured in lux.

In general, the strength of the light in working areas should be 200 lux , rising to 500 lux for particularly close or detailed work.

There are differences in the kind of light given by the various light sources. Incandescent and halogen lamps give the most satisfactory kind of light, as they reproduce colours well and provide a soft glow.

Fluorescent tubes use less energy than incandescent and halogen lamps but give another kind of light. They do not reproduce colours as faithfully and you need more light from fluorescent tubes than from incandescent lights in order to see equally well. This also applies to energy-saving bulbs, which are small fluorescent tubes.

Light quality

The quality of light depends not only on its strength but also on things like glare, shadowing, colour-reproduction, flickering and light distribution.
The ability to reproduce colour is stated in a so-called Ra index. The higher the Ra index, the better (max.100).

  • Incandescent lights have an Ra index of 99.
  • Fluorescent tubes have an Ra index of 50 - 95, according to type.
  • Energy saving bulbs has RA-index of 80 - 85, according to type and quality.
  • LED has RA-index of 60 - 98, according to type and quality.


Light sources with incandescent light is been phased out in EU for gradually introducing more energy saving sources like LED. LED will over time become leading because of LED's advanges and less cost. Therefore LED will become more accessable for everyone. The quality of LED vary a lot and there is no quality labelling yet. LED used at workplaces has to be of a quality of RA 80. 


In particularly demanding workplaces, the requirements can be more stringent, e.g. in the galley and restaurant, where the Ra index ought to be at least 90. Fluorescent tubes meet the requirement but must have a (Philips) colour code of 930.



The Danish Maritime Authority refers to Danish Standard DS/EN 12464-1:2011 as recommended good practice, but also wishes to assess lighting more specifically with respect to Danish Maritime Authority Notices A Ch. IA on working and Notice B Ch II-4 A on workspace and workplace design and equipment.

The strength of the lighting should be 200 lux in most workplaces but in demanding situations, it might be necessary to use portable lamps to bring lighting up to 500 lux.

The Danish Maritime Authority does not normally require lighting measurements to be taken aboard since this requires special expertise and equipment. For workplace lighting, the Ra index should be at least 80.

Incandescent lighting always meets this requirement as do fluorescent strips with colour code 830 (Philips code).


Lighting aboard

Light fittings and lamps should be easy to clean and maintain. Avoid glare and reflection from materials or table-tops by placing light fittings appropriately for fixed workplaces.

Reflections occur if light fittings hang directly over tables. So for a work bench, they should be placed so they are directly over the front edge of the bench-top. Shades on the fittings can also reduce glare.

Flickering lighting can give a stroboscopic effect on rotating machinery, making it easy to misjudge their rate of rotation and the direction of rotation of fast-moving components. Use non-flicker lighting to eliminate this risk. For instance, use incandescent lighting or high frequency fluorescent tubes.

Control room and offices
The strength and direction of lighting should be adjustable and it should be positioned so that no reflection or glare affects panel tops or monitors. Shelving units, cupboards, conference tables and similar pieces of furniture should be well lit so you can see what you are doing.

Choose lighting that is adjustable for day/night time. In daylight, brighter lighting is normally necessary. The aim is to create the conditions for satisfactory vision at all times of the day and night.

Incandescent lighting which can be dimmed gives the most variable and acceptable form of lighting. Place lamps where they do not give reflections/glare on control panels and various computer/radar screens, etc.

Make sure you choose and position the lighting so it does not shine on vertical surfaces and personnel as this gives irritating reflections in windows/panes which will adversely affect vision. Dimmable local (spot) lighting directly over control panels is also a good solution.

Place light fittings directly over the front edge of worktops/tabletops. This eliminates or reduces reflection and glare on table-tops. Light fittings should preferably be anti-dazzle and built into the ceiling and should be easy to clean.

Lighting should feel comfortable and should not dazzle. Choose incandescent or halogen lighting as these types are better at reproducing colours. Choose either fixed table lamps or built-in ceiling lights.

Place lighting either lower than eye-height or else built into the ceilings in order to prevent dazzle.

If the lighting is positioned in the ceiling, it is a good idea to place the lamps and light fittings to one side (not directly in the middle of the ceiling). In this way, the gangways will be lit asymmetrically which gives less dazzle.

It is important that the lighting is not too bright in corridor areas. If it is too bright, it can easily result in unconsciously increasing the level of lighting in adjacent rooms so that they do not seem too dark compared to corridors.

Corridor lighting requirement: Light should be 50 – 100 lux.

Exterior lighting
As far as possible choose light fittings which cast the light downwards and place them below eye height to avoid dazzle.

Exterior lighting requirement: Light should be 25 - 50 lux. In areas without natural lighting, the daytime level should be 100 lux.


International Regulation

Information can be obtained in MOSH Guidelines 6.2.3 Artificial Lighting. 


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Senior Occupational Health Consultant

Anne L. Ries

+45 3311 1833

+45 2961 8860

I can help you with:

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