Task Lighting

Agriculture and Natural Resources
S. Dee Jepsen, Associate Professor and State Safety Leader, Agricultural Safety and Health, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Jeffery Suchy, Graduate Student and Lecturer, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Farmers and gardeners often work where proper natural lighting cannot be obtained, or when general lighting is inadequate. Picking, packing and sorting operations often do not provide adequate light. In these circumstances, use artificial task lighting. Task lighting is the lighting available at the work area where a task is performed. Proper task lighting makes work safer and easier, highlighting moving machinery and other safety hazards such as sharp objects. Proper task lighting helps prevent injuries from unseen hazards and reduces vision problems due to momentary blindness.

Task Lighting Hazards

Inappropriate lighting, such as using only overhead lights, can create shadows. Shadows can make work difficult or dangerous and can hide sharp edges and other potential hazards. Inadequate lighting conditions can also cause eyestrain, blurred vision, dry and burning eyes, and headaches.

Task Lighting Safety Practices

• Provide lighting with adjustable intensity to meet the needs for different tasks.
• Provide portable lighting at the task location as appropriate.
• Keep walls, ceilings and floors clean, and use lighter colors on them to reflect light.
• Replace and clean lights regularly.
• Allow enough time for the eyes to adapt from a well-lighted to a low-lighted area and vice versa.
• Use filters to diffuse overhead lighting.


• Jepsen, S.D., Michael Wonacott, Peter Ling, and Thomas Bean. Tailgate Safety Training for Landscaping and Horticultural Services: Task Lighting, AEX-192.1.77. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Extension, 2006.

Reviewer: Kent McGuire, CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Ohioline http://ohioline.osu.edu