10 Key Considerations for Optimizing Industrial Egress Lighting

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Designing an egress illumination system for industrial facilities is a paramount task. Facility and plant management teams understand the critical importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of their workforce. In this blog, we’ll provide a high-level overview that cuts through the complexities and emphasizes the vital factors to consider when designing an egress illumination system for industrial settings.

10 Key Considerations for Optimizing Industrial Egress Lighting

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Regulatory Compliance

First and foremost, compliance with local, state, and federal regulations is non-negotiable. These regulations are in place for a reason – to safeguard lives and property. Ensure that your egress lighting system aligns with all relevant codes and standards.

Emergency Situations

Consider the worst-case scenario. How will your egress lighting system perform during power outages or emergencies? Battery backups, generators, or other fail-safe mechanisms are essential to guarantee continuous illumination.

Uniform Illumination

Brighter doesn’t always equate to better. Egress routes should be uniformly lit to eliminate shadows and minimize the risk of accidents. Ensure that the lighting layout achieves consistent brightness levels across all escape paths.

Durability and Reliability

Industrial environments can be harsh. Your lighting fixtures need to withstand dust, moisture, vibrations, and other adverse conditions. That said, the LED market continues to become more saturated with untested and unreliable product, making it challenging for maintenance teams to confidently identify fixtures that will help up to the elements. Working with an expert like PEC will help ensure you invest in vetted, long-lasting fixtures and components designed for your top facility needs.

Maintenance Accessibility

Easy access for maintenance is often overlooked. Choose fixtures and mounting locations that facilitate quick and efficient bulb replacement or repairs. Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your egress lighting system functioning optimally.

Adaptive Control Systems

Intelligent lighting control systems can save energy and extend the life of your fixtures. Consider implementing sensors and controls that adjust lighting levels based on occupancy and ambient light conditions.

Lighting Color Temperature

Color temperature plays an essential role in establishing an even consistency. Balanced lighting that doesn’t create shadows or glare or discomfort is key.

Testing and Training

Regularly test your egress lighting system and ensure that your employees are trained to respond effectively during emergencies. Conduct simulated drills to identify any weaknesses in your plan.

Budget and ROI

While safety is paramount, cost-effectiveness matters too. Our team commonly sees facilities that have over-invested in expensive fixtures, associating steep price tags with quality and durability. Striking the right balance between price and performance is crucial. For each project PEC takes on, we help our clients find that ideal balance, designing retrofits with technology that delivers what you need, and not what you don’t.

We will also walk you through several design variations, expected energy + maintenance savings, and the downstream ROI to help you understand your total cost of ownership and confidently make a go or no-go decision.


Maintain detailed records of your egress lighting system, including installation, maintenance, and compliance documents. This documentation is not only essential for audits but also for continuous improvement.

Key Takeaway

Designing an effective egress lighting system for industrial facilities involves meticulous planning and attention to detail. By addressing these key factors, you can create a system that not only meets regulatory requirements but also enhances safety, minimizes downtime, and ultimately provides peace of mind for plant engineers and managers. Safety should never be compromised, and a well-designed egress lighting system is a cornerstone of a safe industrial environment.

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Our team has completed over 8,000 LED retrofits for over 5,000 clients across the US and Canada — trusted by industry leaders like IKEA, Reddaway, Weyerhaeuser, Jeld Wen, and Reliance Steel to design and deploy long-lasting lighting systems that maximize impact.

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Other Egress FAQ’s

What is Egress Lighting

Egress lighting (also referred to as emergency illumination) is the lighting system specifically designed to illuminate exit routes in the event of power failure or emergencies. These lighting systems ensure that paths leading out of the building – including hallways, stairwells, and exits – remain visible, enabling occupants to evacuate safely. Given the critical role it plays, it’s not just a matter of having lights; it’s about having a well-planned, reliable, and effective lighting solution that can stand up to the challenges presented during emergencies in large industrial spaces.

What are the OSHA requirements for egress lighting?

OSHA mandates that exit routes be well-lit to ensure clear visibility during evacuations. Beyond meeting this basic requirement, facilities can consider installing LED lighting solutions that provide brighter, clearer, and more energy-efficient illumination. An optimized path of egress isn’t just about adhering to OSHA’s mandates but about creating an environment where workers can swiftly and safely navigate their way out during emergencies.

What are the NEC requirements for emergency egress lighting?

The NEC stipulates that emergency lighting systems provide illumination for at least 90 minutes during power outages. For industrial facility managers, this is an opportunity to employ advanced lighting units that not only meet this standard but also activate instantaneously, eliminating any momentary blackout. Consider lighting systems that integrate seamlessly with backup power solutions, ensuring zero downtime during transitions.

What is the lighting level for emergency egress?

Both the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and the IBC suggest a minimum illumination level for the path of egress. However, in large industrial facilities like warehousing, 3PL, and manufacturing units, optimizing the lighting level is crucial. Using adjustable LED lighting solutions allows facility managers to modify brightness levels based on the facility’s unique layout and needs. Bright, clear paths can dramatically reduce tripping hazards and ensure workers can locate exit routes more easily.

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