How Safe Are High Pressure Sodium Lamps Compared to LED?

How Safe Are High Pressure Sodium Lamps Compared to LED?

By Leah • Sep 16th 2019

If you are considering updating your current lighting to LED, it's probably because you have seen the lighting on the wall. The US Department of Energy has projected that 84% of the lighting market share will be taken by LED lighting by 2030. There are many reasons to update current high-pressure sodium lamps to LED, but staying safe is often overlooked. Here we show you why this is a mistake.

What Are High-Pressure Sodium Lights?

High-pressure sodium lights are a type of high intensity discharge bulb (HID). They provide an intense light which is used in various commercial and industrial settings. They create light by passing electricity between electrodes in an arc inside the bulb.

The bulb also contains metal compounds and inert gases which are used to provide light and longevity, respectively. The sodium creates the particular type of light the bulb is known for and the gas stops the arc from burning out.

Are High-Pressure Sodium Bulbs Safe?

In general, HPS lamps undergo rigorous testing to ensure they work properly. They are reinforced which allows them to withstand the high charge running through them and to be protected from the intense heat these lights emit.

However, mistakes can happen even if the bulb is safe. Non-passive failures can occur for a variety of reasons. These may include a fault at the point of manufacture, damage caused in transit or even weathering in its place of use. As HIDs are often used in high-bay environments, this can be very dangerous for the people below.

What About UV Light?

HPS lamps give off a lot of UV light, but their housing (i.e. the glass bulb) is coated to filter out these rays. If the bulb is damaged, however, imperceptible UV radiation has been known to cause skin problems. The FDA have even released warnings about damaged mercury-vapor lights causing health concerns.

LED lighting does not require the same casings as HIDs. They have reinforced fixtures and the nature of their diode construction means they do not have the same potentially hazardous chemicals and compounds which are found in HPS lamps. They are at an even lower risk of non-passive failure and are much less likely to cause UV damage.

Do LED Lights Emit Heat?

LED lights will emit heat energy, but much less so than HIDs. This is because they are up to 80% more efficient in converting electrical energy into usable light energy. They will produce some heat in industrial settings, but the safety risk is massively decreased. In smaller spaces, heat is not a risk at all.

How Does Color Rendering Affect Safety?

HPS lamps are notoriously bad when it comes to color rendering. This can make it difficult to distinguish between different colors, not just shades of the same color. This can affect how safe it is as the wrong colored item can be used in an industrial setting, leading to mistakes. They are particularly poor at night-time.

LED Lighting has excellent color rendering and better overall brightness. This is because their lumen efficacy is much better. This not only provides more lumens per watt, but also provides better overall lighting efficiency thanks to the lumens providing more visible light.

How Do High-Pressure Sodium Lights Affect Workers?

Finally, HPS lamps are not the best for the worker in an industrial setting. The poor color rendering and limited overall light quality means it does not well reflect the human circadian rhythm.

LED lighting is programmable and can change according to the amount of concurrent natural light in a space. These lights attune themselves to the human circadian rhythm and help workers to stay energized, focused and even improve mental health. This improves overall safety by keeping the workers more alert with a better overall well-being.

If you want to improve both safety and efficiency in your property, consider changing from high-pressure sodium lamps to LED. For high-bay interiors, the OEO EZ LED 1K ULTRA-P is particularly useful. Contact us today for a free ROI analysis to see how you can better your business.