Features, Innovation, Safety systems and solutions, Work health and safety

Lighting up safety with J.W. Speaker

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Safe to Work sheds light on how J.W. Speaker’s lighting solutions are helping OEMs and after-market customers uphold safety. 

It’s no secret that Australian mining operations often face demanding environments, especially at night. 

That’s why it’s crucial for heavy equipment operators to have the ability to monitor their surroundings and withstand challenging conditions. This is something US-based LED lighting solutions manufacturer J.W. Speaker understands all too well.

The company bases its lighting designs on lux as opposed to lumens. Lumens refers to the static brightness of the light itself, whereas lux refers to how bright a room or area is. 

“You need good-quality colour and a high colouring rendering index. The higher the percentage, the truer the colour is,” J.W. Speaker Asia Pacific sales director Robert Johnstone told Safe to Work.

“You can have high lumens, but the lumen rating never changes at a distance; lumens is how bright it is to the eye, whereas lux does change. That’s why mine sites and port authorities use lux, as it shows how bright the ground is and needs to be for safety condition. 

“If the ground is too bright or not bright enough, it’s not safe to work under.”

Coloured light from LEDs can be designed into a stripe, image or pattern to create a keep-out zone or illuminate a highly visible unsafe section to pedestrians or workers near work zones or dangerous areas.  

Advanced optics and robust designs are at the forefront of J.W. Speaker’s rugged work lamp portfolio, which helps keep critical mining conditions safe for workers.  

All work lights and headlights manufactured by J.W. Speaker operate at 5000–5500 kelvins (K), a good range for eye clarity and visibility, helping to reduce fatigue. 

“Anything above 5000–5500K leaves a glare where there’s too much blue in the light,” Johnstone said.

“When HID (high-intensity discharge) lights first came out, halogen bulbs sat at 2800K, which was a warm and yellow-looking white. Then it increased to 4200K, which is a nice white colour. 

“What’s happened now is we’re jumping up to 6000K-plus, and that’s too much blue; your eyes get tired and suddenly fatigue sets in. J.W. Speaker designs between 5000–5500K because it’s a good working colour temperature.”

J.W. Speaker has a portfolio of LED options for the mining market, with the Model 527 as its flagship.

Model 527 is designed to provide a new level of safety by projecting a large keep-out zone of light onto the ground to alert pedestrians and vehicles to stay out of potentially hazardous work areas, such as the swinging path of a shovel or dragline.

Another option in the portfolio is the Model 529, which is a big LED stripe warning and safety light that identifies dangerous areas on a mining site. This powerful lights allows for the number of fitted lamps to be reduced from a standard six for a large shovel down to three.  

“An Australian client of ours had a few accidents with some dozers,” Johnstone said. 

“They couldn’t see at night-time, even with the flashing lights, so they went with Model 529 because it shines a long red line on the ground so they can be seen by people in larger equipment.  

“This increased their safety, reduced downtime and helped to avoid major accidents.”

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Model 529 identifies dangerous areas on mining sites by projecting a highly visible light strip. Image: J.W. Speaker

The Model 793 serves as a new kind of keep-out safety light for trucks, utility vehicles or forklifts.

“If you’re working at heights on a scissor lift or lamp post at night, you can add a red or blue light around it,” Johnstone said. “It’s static and acts as a visual zone for the person walking underneath it.”

J.W. Speaker’s portfolio also features the Compact Work Light Family range, which comprises Models 792, 892 and 893, designed to replace larger lamps, but with the same output.

Each new model has been manufactured to endure rigorous stability requirements and resistance to surrounding elements while producing powerful flood or trap light patterns to illuminate dark work sites so production can continue, and workers are kept safe.  

“(The new models are) very compact and bright,” Johnstone said. 

“These models are best suited for haul trucks or smaller excavators. With port authorities or cranes, we offer larger lights. Now these other vehicles can have a smaller light at half the weight and price.”

Johnstone said J.W. Speaker listens to the end user when developing its products.

“A client of ours wanted a light on the ground to warn people with the big excavator. They also discussed how the work lights in front of their haul trucks glared onto the drivers,” he said. “In response, we developed the world’s first anti-glare headlight for a dump truck and red zone for larger shovels. 

“J.W. Speaker is the leading manufacturer of rugged work lamps that can withstand the harshest environments.  

“We understand the conditions these lamps have to perform under, as well as what it takes to keep the workers safe.” 

Check out J.W. Speakers website for more information or to get in touch.

This feature also appears in the March-April issue of Safe to Work.

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