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Improving Health and Safety: Quality Improvement Through the Implementation of a Simple System of Improved Lighting

Content provided by PREMAnet, content partner of SME Toolkit

A Medium-sized Tannery Close to Chennai / India

In brief

Poor lighting negatively affected the quality of daily work. Taking into consideration the diverse requirements of light in different areas of the tannery, a new lighting system for those areas that need better quality lighting was introduced. The new lighting system replaced old tubes that had lost efficiency over the years. Tubes that could still be used were placed in those areas where a lower lighting quality could be tolerated (for example in hallways, the tanning sector and storage areas that were rarely used) without affecting the quality of daily work.

The challenge

The efficiency of lighting tubes decreases over their lifetime. In the tannery the lighting tubes remained in the same place until they broke. This led to deterioration in the quality of lighting in the production areas with the result that on a daily basis, a number of products had to be reprocessed because of the bad quality of the polishing. The deterioration of the quality of light also affected the eyesight of workers and contributed to fatigue, increasing the risk of accidents.

Actions taken within the enterprise (after the application of the PREMA GHK guide)

The tannery bought an industrial light meter and evaluated the quality of light in comparison to recommended levels. The results were shown on the plan of the tannery.

The maintenance team moved tubes with low efficiency to hallways and other low-priority areas, and installed new pipes in finishing operations. Fortunately, the tannery had originally installed standard devices for lighting tubes, which helped to reduce the costs of the exchange.

The maintenance team was trained in the use of light meters and was instructed to regularly check light quality in the tannery, as well as to conduct the necessary replacements.

Occupational health and safety improvements

The simple change in the lighting system improved the working environment and ergonomics of the finishing operations, improving both the well-being of the workers and the quality of the products.

Today, the tannery regularly checks the quality levels of lighting in its operations using a simple low-cost device. The decision to ensure that there is adequate lighting in the production areas has been critical to reducing worker fatigue, stress on eye sight, and headaches, which can reduce employee efficiency and increase the risk of accidents.

At the same time, efforts are constantly being made to always keep the windows clean in order to reduce the need for artificial light, while the walls and the ceiling were painted in white to improve the distribution of artificial light thus keeping the energy requirements for lighting low.

Economic benefits

While the introduction of the lighting system did not lead to a significant reduction in energy costs, savings were achieved through the increase of labour productivity.

Investment costs


Through buying

an industrial light meter

Operational costs

Basically none

Through buying

replacement batteries

Annual savings


The tannery estimated a 15% increase in productivity

Workers require less time to do the finishing

Quality is more consistent and improved

Payback time



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