Choosing suitable lighting

Factors to consider when choosing correct task lighting include:

  • task(s) to be performed
  • working distance
  • work space, layout and colours
  • size of work area
  • visual ability, age and preference for type of light e.g. a light box may assist with students with complex learning needs
  • sources of existing light and/or glare
  • floor, desk, adjustable or hand-held
  • with inbuilt magnification
  • portability – some lamps fold up or are battery operated for increased flexibility
  • special areas – stairwells (light switch top and bottom), lockers and cupboards (e.g. a torch)

Note: If higher levels of illumination are required, a second light source which can shine directly on to the work may assist. To reduce glare and reflection, a lamp should be adjustable and allow the light to fall directly on to the task from over the shoulder or between the person and the task. Ensure that the lamp does not get too hot.

Types of globes

  • Incandescent – pearl or frosted globes are often preferred as they provide a more diffuse light than the clear alternative, however incandescent globes get hot and use more electricity than some other options
  • Fluorescent – offer the most diffuse lighting whilst minimising the potential for shadows or glare and are often recommended for general or room lighting. They are more expensive to purchase but cheaper to run. They do not get hot and last up to eight times longer than incandescent globes.
  • Halogen – provide a crisp bright light which might result in glary bright spots causing discomfort. They are more expensive to buy and run.
  • Energy efficient – available in warm white or cool white ("daylight") and are cheaper to run and last a long time

Note: Lamps can be desk mounted with a clamp or a weighted base. Others have a floor base. It is best for the student to try various lighting options before purchasing.

Lighting assessments and products

Lighting products can also be purchased from lighting shops and office suppliers.

Please note: Every effort has been made to ensure this information is accurate and current. If there are errors or omissions, they are unintentional. Please check with the equipment supplier to verify product specifications, availability and price.