Safe Shop: Meeting Your Shop’s Lighting Needs
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Safe Shop: Meeting Your Shop’s Lighting Needs

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Having reliable “mobile” or “task” lighting is very important so technicians are able to clearly see what they are working on, even in the crevices of an engine compartment. Not having the necessary lighting accessories will hinder productivity and prolong the time it takes to complete a job.

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There are many types of lighting available on the market today, so it shouldn’t be difficult for technicians to locate the proper lighting that best suits their individual needs.

Invented in 1898, the flashlight can still be found in many technicians’ toolboxes. Today’s flashlights are available in many different sizes and colors, are much lighter than their predecessors, are rechargeable and are tough enough to withstand being run over by a vehicle. Some flashlights are equipped with magnets on the side so they can be attached to the side of a technician’s toolbox.

Current technology has taken flashlights one step further with the introduction of flexible or bendable flashlights. The lights feature a flexible cable with a light on the end that allows technicians to illuminate hard-to-view areas that may have been difficult to illuminate in the past. Most of these units are battery powered.

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Long a mainstay in repair shops, trouble or drop lights are still quite popular, but even these have been modified with new technology. The cable reels can be mounted to a wall, ceiling or even tool box for ease of use. The lights themselves are often shatter proof and chemical resistant resulting in longer service life and extended bulb life.

Also a familiar sight in automotive repair shops are tube lights. These fluorescent lights are now much sturdier than some of their earlier counterparts. Some of today’s tube lights are designed to absorb the shock of being jostled around and have a shatter-resistant body.

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Some lights are now available in LED or fluorescent models and as rechargeable or plug-in models to meet the needs of the individual technician. In addition, some of these units feature an additional outlet in the handle that can save the technician the time of running back and forth to the wall outlet and decrease the number of electrical cords stretched across the bay.

LED lights will not burn out, do not get especially hot and they use less power, but they are typically more expensive the fluorescent lights.

Also available for technicians are headlights. Not nearly as bulky as those worn by miners, the small, lightweight lights are attached to straps fitted around the technician’s head. These battery-operated lights offer steady illumination to those techs working under the car or in dark areas of the engine compartment while keeping their hands free for the tasks at hand.

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If, by chance, one of your lights should be damaged, check the manufacturer’s website for replacement parts. Many manufacturers have parts available and this is much cheaper than going out and buying an entire new light.

Lighting Your Service Bays
When it comes to overhead lighting, you may want to have someone who specializes in shop lighting assist you in designing a lighting layout that is best for your shop. There are several types of lighting fixtures available and based on the size of your shop and the amount of outside light that filters into the shop, some may be more suitable for the lighting needs in your facility.

For example, there are different lighting options for high and low ceilings, and in some sections of the shop, you may want to consider wall-mounted lights that focus the lighting in a specific area.

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Energy consumption is also important to consider when designing the lighting layout for your service bays. Some types of lights are more energy efficient than others, and when lighting a large area, this can have a significant impact on your monthly electric bills.

When designing the lighting layout for your shop, don’t forget exit and emergency lighting. It’s important to make sure your shop meets all the local safety codes so you are able to pass any inspections. Exit and emergency lighting can often be purchased from the same companies providing your overhead lighting.

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