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3 Ways Poor Lighting Can Cause an Injury

Business man falling down set of stairs.

There are infinite ways a person can sustain injuries, from plane crashes to sports collisions. But did you know that a simple lightbulb, or the lack thereof, can also cause injuries? Installing adequate lighting is an easy way to improve the safety of any home, office building, or nursing home, but plenty of property managers fail to take this simple precaution. The result is an increased risk of falls, potentially causing injuries as minor as bumps and bruises, or as major as fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and even spinal cord injuries.

Lighting-related injuries in and around the home

Busy homeowners may sometimes deprioritize minor maintenance tasks like installing new lightbulbs or upgrading the electrical wiring to install new lighting fixtures. As a result, people may trip and fall on the stairs or in a dark storage area, or they may fall over clutter that they were unable to see. When a homeowner or other household resident falls and sustains injuries, it’s assumed that the injured person has full responsibility for the hazardous condition. However, visitors to the residence probably won’t have advanced knowledge of the potential safety hazards, and won’t expect to need a flashlight to find their way down a hallway safely.

Lighting-related injuries at the workplace

Both indoor and outdoor workplaces can have lighting deficiencies that can lead to injuries. At an outdoor construction site, for example, employers are expected to set up high-powered, portable tower lights to give the workers enough lighting. In this scenario, the risk isn’t only that an employee may trip over equipment and fall, but also that an employee may make a mistake with heavy machinery. For example, an employee driving a backhoe without adequate lighting may strike and injure another worker. Or, a worker may slice off a finger with a circular saw because the work area isn’t properly illuminated.

Indoor workplaces can also be hazardous if there is a lighting deficiency. Employees may trip and fall in a darkened stairwell, storage closet, or copy room—or anywhere else that lacks sufficient lighting.

Lighting-related falls in long-term care facilities

Lighting is especially important in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, rehab hospitals, hospice centers, and memory care residences. Seniors and those who are severely ill or injured are already at a higher risk of falls because of poor eyesight, eye vision disorders like macular degeneration, poor balance and coordination, poor distance judgment, and slow reaction times. The lack of proper lighting can substantially increase the risk of tripping and falling anywhere, even in an area without clutter or stairs.

Additionally, seniors with dementia may be prone to wandering and sundowning. Sundowning symptoms, as the term implies, worsen in the evening, when natural light is decreasing. Without enough lighting, the agitation, confusion, and pacing that are characteristic of sundowning can create the perfect storm for a serious fall.

Have you been injured on someone else’s property? If the property owner or manager failed to correct a hazardous condition, such as inadequate lighting, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Call the Los Angeles premises liability lawyers of Ellis Law to request a consultation.

Additional Information on Injuries Caused by Poor Lighting Conditions:

  1. Chron, OSHA Lighting Standards, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/osha-lighting-standards-2641.html
  2. Mayo Clinic, Sundowning: Late-Day Confusion, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/sundowning/faq-20058511