Emergency luminaries are crucial in keeping your workplace safe. They help your workers and onsite visitors evacuate safely in the event of an emergency. Commercial emergency escape lighting and exit signage systems are governed by the law. As a business owner or a facility manager, understanding the legislation and the standards governing the systems can be a daunting task. After all, failure to comply could result in a penalty.
Standards provide a guideline and an assurance that goods and services are safe and reliable, protecting the end users.
In Australia, a set of standards covers the implementation and maintenance of emergency lighting in commercial premises. These standards are AS/NZS 2293 Parts 1, 2 and 3.
The standards outline the design and installation of an emergency and exit lighting system in a commercial premise, its maintenance and product requirements. Under these standards, businesses are responsible for ensuring that the emergency and exit lights in their premises comply with the standards.
As a business owner or a facility manager, it is crucial that you seek expert advice from a professional service provider to ensure your emergency and exit lighting system is always compliant. Many may still be unaware of the possible consequences of non-compliance.
When choosing a product for emergency and exit lighting, it is crucial to ensure that the product has been tested as outlined in Part 3 of the standard. Approved products have undergone a series of tests according to the procedures drawn in the standard. These tests include a thermal or duration test, a photometric test, and a colour, luminance and format test.
Emergency and exit lighting must be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with the procedures set out in the AS/NZS 2293 standard. Failure to comply could not just result in a penalty, but also jeopardise the safety of the premise residents.
There are two types of emergency lighting, maintained and non-maintained. Maintained emergency lighting is a type of lighting that is used on a daily basis but transforms into emergency mode during power failures. Non-maintained emergency lights are only used in the event of a power outage.
Both types of emergency lighting need to be checked regularly to ensure they are in a good working condition. The inspection should determine if it has updated batteries, sufficient lumen output, and adequate projected lifespan.
All emergency and exit lights must undergo a 90-minute discharge test of the battery every 6 months as stated under the AS2293.2 standard.
Situations may arise where the backup battery fails due to batteries becoming discharged. This happens when they do not hold a charge or do not receive a charge from the power converter. With any light failure, it is important to realise that simply replacing the backup battery may not resolve the fault.
The light may in fact function again due to any charge/backup power in the newly installed battery. However, it may fail to recharge beyond that due to a faulty power converter. Therefore, the most economical recommendation is to replace the complete unit.
During any test, tubes in exit light fittings are replaced. Tubes or globes in emergency lights are replaced if the unit fails to illuminate. Any damage to the unit or diffuser constitutes an immediate fail, so the unit must be repaired or replaced.
To ensure compliance and safety, all tests should be carried out by a professional testing service provider. Records of all tests and the subsequent actions taken must be kept for compliance purposes. The burden of compliance can be lifted if you hire a professional maintenance contractor who can set a routine maintenance program and provide service reminders, so that you will always stay compliant.