Temporary Lighting Safety Talk

Topic: Temporary Lighting
Date Issued: September 1, 2011 Date Revised:

Temporary lighting is essential in buildings under construction.

All areas where work is performed, including exits and entrances, must be adequately lit.

A lighting level of at least 10 foot-candles (100 lux) is recommended for general construction.

This means 150-watt light bulbs:

  • suspended 2.4 metres (8 feet) high, and
  • 4 metres (13 feet) apart.

Bulbs should be installed so that they light as large an area as possible. They should also be protected by cages, to guard against accidental damage.

Branch lighting circuits feeding temporary lighting should be kept entirely separate from power circuits, except for a common supply.

Branch lighting circuits should be protected by a breaker or fuse with a 15-amp rating. Circuits should be hard-wired directly into a distribution panel by a qualified electrician.

Replace missing or burned-out bulbs. To work safely, you must be able to see in stairwells, basements and other areas at all times.

Task lighting may be required where precision is important.

Temporary lighting can present hazards.

  • Avoid contact with wires strung for temporary lighting. Frequent relocation of circuits can loosen connections, break insulation and create other hazards which may lead to shock or electrocution.
  • Do not use temporary lighting circuits as extension cords. If a fuse blows, it can be dangerous to find your way to the panel in the dark.
  • Ensure that exposed wires do not contact steel door frames. Temporary lines often pass through doors may accidentally close on them.
  • Careful! Do not bump stringers with ladders, lengths of pipe, scaffold frames or other objects that can cause electrical contact and shock.


  1. Are work areas well lit?
  2. Are burned-out bulbs promptly replaced?
  3. Are they replaced with new bulbs or bulbs merely taken from another location?
  4. Are stringers promptly relocated, when bulbs are blocked by the installation of new ceilings, ducts, piping and other equipment?
  5. Are lamp holders hard-usage types?
  6. Are electrical feed lines for sockets supported every 1.4 metres (4 feet, 6 inches)?

[Deficiencies should be corrected or brought to the attention of the general contractor.]

In New Brunswick, the law on illumination can be found in General Regulation 91-191 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 26.

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