Open-plan offices

When dangerous situations occur in an open-plan office full of employees, the most important thing is to avoid panic in the first seconds. It’s also important to consider the installation conditions.

There are two key aspects to ensuring safety with regard to the health and lives of employees, as well as protecting valuable property: they are the human and technical factors. In accordance with the requirements of the relevant laws and regulations, including EU directives, the employer is responsible for ensuring safety at work. One of the most important aspects is the proper training of employees in this regard, but it is equally important to ensure the appropriate quality of the technical equipment that is necessary in order to protect people’s health and lives and allow for efficient and unimpeded evacuation.

The key to a safe evacuation

A potential power failure or other similar dangerous situation can happen while office employees are occupying an open-plan office. A key aspect of ensuring a safe evacuation lies in avoiding panic in the first seconds after the occurrence of a potential threat until an independent decision is made or a voice message is issued about what to do next.


Efficient emergency lighting design

As a rule, there are no places within open-plan offices where any tasks that are potentially dangerous to the health and lives of employees would need to be completed prior to evacuating in an emergency. This is where we focus on designing anti-panic lighting for open areas and correctly directing the people occupying those spaces to the nearest escape route, and further, to the nearest emergency exit. When evaluating any emergency lighting design, it’s important to take into account the locations of points of emphasis, such as first aid kits, fire extinguishers and other firefighting equipment.


Considering the important factors

When selecting lighting equipment for open-plan offices, it’s important to consider the installation conditions, ceiling type, mounting method, necessary additional accessories and other related factors. At the same time, there are no additional requirements regarding the ingress protection rating or mechanical impact resistance for the luminaires.


EU guidelines require proper evacuation conditions for all occupied workspaces

 Important emergency lighting design principles to remember about for open-plan offices:

  • open-area (anti-panic) lighting
    if the area of the room exceeds 60 m2
  • escape route lighting
    if the escape route leads through the room from other rooms
  • safety sign lighting
    that indicates the course of the escape route and the way to accessing it
  • lighting for points of emphasis
    such as first aid kits and firefighting equipment


Emergency lighting requirements:

Type of emergency lighting  task / activity area

Illuminance level (Emin) / Luminance level (Lmin)

Diversity ratio (Ud)



Time until 50% / 100% illuminance is achieved
Open area lighting 0.5 lx 1:40 Floor area excluding
a 0.5 m margin
1 h 5 s / 60 s
Escape route lighting 1 lx 1:40 2 m on the floor 1 h 5 s / 60 s
Exit signs on the escape route 2 cd/m2 10:1 Safety sign 1 h 5 s / 60 s
Lighting of points of emphasis 5 lx Not applicable Point of emphasis 1 h 5 s / 60 s