warehouse lighting requirements

for safe forklift operation

Have you ever walked through a dark warehouse? It can be intimidating. That feeling occurs because the risk to your well-being is real.

An electric forklift, which is designed to operate quietly, traveling at a high speed, may not be noticed … until it strikes you.


Per OSHA, companies are required to provide a minimum of two lumens per square foot in areas with heavy equipment in use. Also referred to as foot-candles, lumens are calculated by the wattage of light fixtures used versus the square footage of an area.

Imagine a room measuring 10 ft. x 10 ft. (100 square feet). A single 20-watt incandescent bulb would barely satisfy OSHA’s minimum requirement. Plus, you would be left with a dimly lit room. Now think of your local grocery store and the brightness of their facility. On average, grocery stores use 70 lumens per square foot. Investing is lighting helps the store feature all offerings on the shelf and provides an environment where customers want to continue shopping.


Operation of heavy equipment outdoors must also be considered. Working multiple shifts or production during the winter season may leave your forklift operator without sunlight. Outside lighting or front/rear work lights on the equipment assists an operator with seeing his surrounding area. In some cases, all options may be needed to achieve two lumens per square foot for legal operation.

You must pay attention to that intimidating feeling you get walking in dark areas. While lighting a large area can produce a substantial cost, concern for employee safety should be priority. You may not find what’s lurking around the corner until it’s too late.

Thompson & Johnson is a full-service forklift dealer. Contact us today to discuss our high efficiency lighting solutions or to learn more about our safety training options.  What us to swing by and have a quick look? Call Thompson & Johnson today or fill out a Customer Request Email Form above! 

Got Questions?

If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.