The importance of emergency lighting, which comes on automatically when normal lighting fails, should not be underestimated. The disorientation and potential distress caused by sudden darkness is a genuine health and safety concern as is the need to provide adequate lighting for safe evacuation. The provision and maintenance of emergency lighting is therefore a legal requirement in all commercial buildings.
What are your obligations?
You must provide and maintain adequate emergency lighting in your commercial premises.
There are three main types of emergency lighting to consider in order to comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005:
- Emergency escape lighting illuminates escape routes and direct people to these and to emergency equipment.
- High risk task area lighting provides light to enable potentially dangerous processes to be shut down in a controlled manner without increased risks due to lighting failure e.g. plant rooms, commercial kitchens etc.
- ‘Panic lighting’ illuminates communal areas to reduce panic.
Depending on the activity being carried out on the premises you may also want to provide standby lighting to enable normal activities to continue should normal lighting fail.
British Standard BS 5266 provides clear guidelines for those designing emergency lighting solutions to comply, and also suggests that rooms should have emergency lighting if they:
- are over 60m2 (NB toilets with a floor area that exceeds 8m2require emergency lighting.)
- form part of an escape route
- contain a hazard identified in a site risk assessment
Installations must conform to BS7671 IET Wiring Regulations. British Standard BS 5266 requires written declarations of compliance to be available on site for inspection, and also evidence of regular testing:
- All emergency lighting systems must be ‘flick-tested’ monthly to ensure satisfactory operation.
- A test for the fully rated duration of the emergency lighting must be carried out annually. The duration is dependent on the size and complexity of the building and its usage and therefore the likely time it will take to evacuate. Following the annual testing a conformity certificate should be issued, or any remedial works noted acted upon to restore the system to its designed status.
What are the implications of non-compliance?
For non-domestic buildings, The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 gives fire and rescue authorities the power to inspect buildings, make the person responsible for fire safety carry out a fire risk assessment or safety improvements (through an enforcement notice). Failure to install emergency lighting constitutes a fire safety breach which can result in substantial fines.
Should your failure to provide and maintain adequate emergency lighting result in injury or loss of life the legal consequences would be more severe.
We can help you fulfil your obligations
We can help you to keep your building compliant and the people in it happy and safe. We can design and install emergency lighting to conform with British Standard BS 5266, and we can ensure that your emergency lighting is maintained to remain compliant, providing all the necessary certification. The simplest way to achieve this is to put a Darenth Valley planned and preventative maintenance contract in place, which can also cover any or all of the 12 Maintenance Essentials as required.