Photobiology: Safety & Productivity
Photobiology is the study of light and its effect on living things. There has been a great deal of study on photobiology in the area of agriculture. However, its application in the oil & gas environment is a new field. It is a niche market for those companies like Nemalux that have the expertise to engineer lighting systems that enhance operations and safety in the energy sector.
An oil & gas operation runs on a 24-hour rotation. It is a rhythm that is dictated by the market demand for the product. Employees on the same site are not immune to the demands of the market. Twelve-hour shifts and rotating shift work is part and parcel in the oil & gas industry. It’s a potentially explosive environment where serious accidents can occur. Statistically, most oil rig accidents occur between the hours of 8:00pm and 10:00pm. The principal cause: worker fatigue.
Working without the benefit of natural sunlight is a challenge for oil & gas workers and their management. During daylight, the human body produces melatonin, a hormone that keeps us awake and alert. When in darkness, the body produces serotonin, a hormone that induces drowsiness. Understanding how light or the absence of light affects people and applying that understanding to the oil & gas work environment is an expertise that Nemalux developed. “We understand that cool white LED light (with lots of blue wavelengths) stimulates the brain to be awake” explains Jode. “Our goal is to apply the knowledge that photobiology offers. Our engineering expertise allows us to apply specific spectrums of light at predetermined locations within an oil & gas operation to improve productivity and safety”.