Injuries attributable to poor lighting: Who is liable?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Workers Comp |

Proper lighting is crucial in helping prevent accidents and injuries in workplaces, retail establishments and other shared spaces alike. Proper illumination enables employees to see potential hazards, navigate through spaces safely and perform tasks accurately.

Inadequate or poor lighting can create hazards that increase the risk of accidents, particularly in the construction, manufacturing and healthcare industries. Diminished visibility can also increase stress on workers; prolonged exposure to inadequate lighting can cause eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and fatigue.

Common injuries resulting from poor lighting

Inadequate lighting significantly contributes to slip, trip and fall accidents. This is because insufficient illumination makes it difficult to identify potential hazards such as uneven surfaces, obstacles or changes in elevation. As a result, employees may stumble, trip over objects or misjudge steps, resulting in injuries ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures and brain trauma.

Poor lighting can also lead to strains and musculoskeletal injuries. When visibility is compromised, employees may adopt awkward postures or make sudden movements to compensate for the lack of light, increasing the risk of strains and sprains. Such injuries commonly occur when lifting objects, operating machinery or performing repetitive tasks.

Liability for injuries caused by poor lighting

Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees, which includes ensuring adequate lighting conditions. They should regularly assess lighting levels, promptly address deficiencies and provide appropriate illumination based on industry standards and regulations. Failure to meet these obligations may result in an employer being liable for injuries caused by poor lighting via their workers’ compensation coverage.

In some cases, liability for inadequate lighting may fall upon contractors or maintenance providers responsible for installing or servicing lighting systems. If it can be proven that their work was faulty, negligent or non-compliant with safety standards, they may potentially be held liable for resulting injuries via an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

Adequate lighting is essential for maintaining a safe working environment and preventing injuries in the workplace. By recognizing the importance of adequate illumination and fulfilling their responsibilities, responsible parties can help reduce the risk of accidents, enhance workplace safety and protect the well-being of employees.