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Thread: Requirement to have diffusers on light fittings? ( instead of wire mesh guard)

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    Requirement to have diffusers on light fittings? ( instead of wire mesh guard)

    Our HQ is illuminated with the standard flourescent tube lights, many years ago these had diffusers over them, however as the ceiling is relatively low these used to get frequently damaged, and subsequently the tube used to get knocked out where it fell to the floor and smashed ( usualy during ball games played inside with soft foam balls) this used to be a regular occurrence, they used to look like this ( before they were inevitably damaged/broken)


    As a result the difuseres were replaced with wire mesh guards, quite some time ago ( 12+ years) similar to whats shown below and since then there has been no breakages of the light fittings



    We now have a ( relatively ) new HQ management committee who have undertaken a fire risk assessment, and this is top of the list:
    Risk: There are lights which require diffusers to be fitted: Recomendation Diffusers should be fitted so fires starting in the light fittings may be confined. Fires can drip down onto combustibles which in turn can spread to other
    Is there such a requirement? I would assess it as a far greater risk from damaged fittings /lights as a result of a lack of guarding than from a fire which may burn downwards

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    Medicationed BenOfThe12th's Avatar
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    I'd be incline to ask who ever put that together as never heard of it.
    How is a plastic diffuser going to reduce the spread of fire as described..

    ** Warning ** I like my humour Very DRY, same as my Martinis, so don't take anything personally..

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    If anything plastic diffusers (which is what all defusers I am aware of are made from) would increase the fire risk not reduce it

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    Agreed, sounds like rubbish to me.

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    GSL/ESL(YL)/TA Mark W's Avatar
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    Just swap for leds, safer and savings.
    If it was easy, it wouldn't be so much fun...
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    Even with LEDs, due to the low ceiling ( no higher than a domestic house) there would still need to be some protection round them.
    and thats either as a conversion or a new fitting

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    Hmmm...

    We've got wire mesh guards round our strip lighting too. I'd agree with the point above, a tube being smashed or dislodged and falling into a room full of kids, in terms is a far greater risk than fire.

    Who ever added that in as a risk, I think, was either being a bit of a jobsworth or wasn't looking at it in the round.

    We had the local nursery in looking at our hall, they also produced a list of 'risks' we'd need to address if our hall was to be blessed by their presence.

    I felt like reminding them that it was our hall, not theirs...

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    Have a look at:
    https://www.esfrs.org/black-museum/a...light-fitting/

    "Fluorescent lighting was situated throughout the common areas including the means of escape. These light fittings were fitted with “thermoplastic” diffusers made from polystyrene. A fault within a fluorescent light fitting ignited the plastic diffuser rapidly producing large amounts of thick black smoke. Flaming molten plastic quickly involved the carpet within the corridor adding to the already dense smoke, making the means of escape impassable within a very short period of time. This resulted in 8 residents having to be rescued by the Fire and Rescue Service."
    John Russell
    ex-CSL now ACSL 1st Pinhoe Exeter Devon
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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    I would use it as a starting point for pushing for a full new LED lighting system to be installed at your HQ. Review every single light fitting and room and replace every fitting with LEDs. As your ceiling is low, is there another solution to light the hall - maybe up lighters on the walls or spot lights in the celling.

    Our meeting place has no ceiling lights in the main area of the hall (only exception is the "stage" area and a thin strip at the back which have spotlights) - the rest is up lighting on the pillars and some industrial style LED floodlights (of which there are now 50% less of them then what they replaced).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    Just swap for leds, safer and savings.
    Savings yes, there is nothing whatsoever unsafe about the setup described. There is quite simply nothing to burn - the fitting is metal and the tubes are glass. Add a diffuser and *then* you have a fire risk.

    I would seriously question the competence of whoever wrote that, to the point that I'd be pushing to bin the fire RA and have someone actually competent do it again.

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    We have striplights as per the second picture and we allow hard balls in our HQ, so they are needed. No diffusers, that fire risk thing doesn't seem to make any sense but let us know what they say when you query it.

    Does anyone who's suggested replacing strip lighting with LEDs have any links for practical easy replacement? We have 8 double striplights and of the 16 I think I've only replaced two Or three in the 9 years since installation, and our electric bill is minimal, so they would have to be pretty cheap to save money in the short term

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Pepper View Post
    We have striplights as per the second picture and we allow hard balls in our HQ, so they are needed. No diffusers, that fire risk thing doesn't seem to make any sense but let us know what they say when you query it.

    Does anyone who's suggested replacing strip lighting with LEDs have any links for practical easy replacement? We have 8 double striplights and of the 16 I think I've only replaced two Or three in the 9 years since installation, and our electric bill is minimal, so they would have to be pretty cheap to save money in the short term
    For LED's? It's not worth the investment in replacement unless it's time to change anyway. One local group changed to LED's at the cost of several thousand in a misguided attempt to save cost - the difference to the electric bill was quite small as it was dwarfed by the electric heating and it appears it will take years to recoup as florescents are quite efficient anyway. Not helped that all the section leaders have complained that it's too dim in comparison to the old fluorescents.

    Hard balls are banned in our hut, not for lighting damage but simply because they can quite easily put large dents in the walls and doors but even so we try and keep soft balls below head height.

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    Well that was my thought that's why I thought I'd mention it.

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    The diffuser type shown in the OP is not particularly sturdy.

    We replaced ours with these

    https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_In...o_2/index.html

    They are much sturdier - and in our case where conedsation could be an issue they were corrosion free. They took kits from balls without breaking.

    The critical thing is that the diffuser protects the tube and prevents broken glass from falling onto kids below.
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard T View Post
    Our HQ is illuminated with the standard flourescent tube lights, many years ago these had diffusers over them, however as the ceiling is relatively low these used to get frequently damaged, and subsequently the tube used to get knocked out where it fell to the floor and smashed ( usualy during ball games played inside with soft foam balls) this used to be a regular occurrence, they used to look like this ( before they were inevitably damaged/broken)


    As a result the difuseres were replaced with wire mesh guards, quite some time ago ( 12+ years) similar to whats shown below and since then there has been no breakages of the light fittings



    We now have a ( relatively ) new HQ management committee who have undertaken a fire risk assessment, and this is top of the list:

    Is there such a requirement? I would assess it as a far greater risk from damaged fittings /lights as a result of a lack of guarding than from a fire which may burn downwards
    What exactly is going to "drip down"? If there was an electrical fire within the light fitting it would be above the protective panel above the bulb... which in most light fittings is made of metal. I have seen melted starter ballasts, but these are outside the diffuser anyway, and unlikely to cause a fire.

    Someone wrote that risk assessment without either understanding the risks, or understanding the use that the hall is put to. Watch out, as once they've fitted the diffusers, they'll decide that ball games (and probably lots of your other activities) aren't safe and ban them.

    This is why hall committees need to largely consist of the people that use the hall. I know its another time commitment for leaders, but as the main stakeholders in using the hall they should have the largest say. Maybe accompanied by a couple of building experts (always good to have a surveyer or a builder on the team). If you get a "H&S Officer" volunteer to join the team, run and run fast!

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