Emergency lighting reference & design

The requirement for emergency lighting originates from the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and is further enforced by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (Amended 1999). The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, FSO came into force in October 2006 and now replaces all previous fire safety legislation.

The key considerations from the Fire Safety Order are:

  • The FSO creates one simple fire safety legislative control for all workplaces/non-domestic premises
  • Control is fire risk assessment based, with the responsibility for fire safety resting with the ‘responsible person’ for the premises
  • All persons inside the building/in the vicinity who might be affected by a fire must be protected
  • Employees will be required to act upon the fire risk assessment, make remedial arrangements accordingly and maintain the fire precautions
  • Failure to comply with the rules would be a breach of law, with the consequence of enforcement or prohibition notices being served

The fire safety risk assessment is a legal requirement, and where a site has 5 or more employees the risk assessment must be documented. Fire certificates under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 are now no longer valid. Guidance documents on the new Fire Safety legislation have been published and the appropriate ones must be consulted as part of the overall fire risk assessment.

Other important legislation and regulations, such as The Buildings Regulations and The Health and Safety “Safety Signs and Signals” Regulations 1996, also have a requirement for emergency lighting and must be considered as part of the design and specification.

A number of standards have been devised to provide guidance on application of emergency lighting in line with legislative requirements, and to determine the quality of product to be specified. The major standards to be considered when designing a high-level emergency lighting system are:

BS 5266-1, -7, -8 and -10
This standard sets the guidelines for installation of emergency lighting, as to the location and frequency of emergency luminaires and exit signs, and the minimum lighting levels required.

BS EN 60598.2.22
This is the product standard which establishes the performance requirements of emergency lighting luminaires and internally illuminated exit signs.

EC 62034
This standard defines the requirement for automated testing systems for emergency lighting.

ICEL1001, ICEL1004 & ICEL1009
Standards provided by the Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting which define enhanced performance requirements for the differing types of emergency lighting, backed by independent testing.

General requirements for emergency lighting (BS 5266-1, -7, -8 and -10)

If emergency lighting is required it should:

  • Indicate the escape routes clearly with exit signs so there is no doubt which is the way out
  • Ensure fire safety equipment such as fire alarm call-points, fire extinguishers etc can be located
  • Illuminate escape routes, and open areas used in escape routes so that obstacles can be avoided
  • Provide illumination for high risk task areas to allow the processes to be shut down safely

Any point on an escape route or leading to it must have an exit sign so that direction of travel is never in doubt. Exit sign boards can be used, providing that an adjacent emergency luminaire illuminates the board adequately. A more effective way of emphasising the way out would be to use internally illuminated exit signs, such as our Serenga, Horizon, and Aqualux ranges, as these offer twice the viewing distance of exit sign boards (see below).


Points of emphasis

Mandatory points of emphasis have been established where directional signage or specific illumination is required. These are:

  • Near an exit door
  • Near changes of direction
  • Near stairs and changes of level
  • Near the intersection of a corridor
  • Near each piece of fire-fighting equipment or manual call point
  • Near each First Aid point
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