Safety of Lighting Poles
Whether or not lampposts are actually safe is something we often underestimate, assuming that lampposts will provide the lighting, safety, and security we need on roads, parking lots, and sports fields. Light poles are subject to corrosion, wear and tear, poor welding and much more than can be perceived with the naked eye.
Based on more than 200,000 Risk-Based Inspections (RBI) and Structural Health Rating (SHR) assessments, it found that only 40% of commercial lighting poles in the US are in good condition, with little or no attention paid to their maintenance at this point.
As approximately 60% of commercial light poles are not considered safe to the public, it is essential to implement a comprehensive structural asset management program to ensure light pole safety. This type of program is critical to maintaining the mast's structural integrity over the long term, and includes on-site non-destructive inspection (NDT inspection) through advanced applications such as drone inspection, and in-depth knowledge and analytics on mast health. Failure to enforce light pole safety can result in injury or death to the public as well as property damage.
Historically speaking, retail, utilities and public transport companies equipped with lampposts, and parks and recreation, schools and universities may have followed inspections as only electrical components, but maintenance and inspections must encompass much more than these inspections.
"Does it work?" It's time to go beyond asking the question. We have to focus on the existing pillars. Structural controls provide stability, so you can count on your posts to last their long life intact.
Many lighting companies fail to recognize the importance of ongoing maintenance and inspection inspections due to the perception that inspections are not necessary if lighting functionality works.
Your lighting cannot work without proper structures. There is real potential for danger if there is corrosion, weld defects, design errors or poor installation.
Even if your lampposts don't look "broken", they still need your attention and attention. Typically, failed structural components are not visible to the naked eye; so you need to dig a little deeper and examine the materials you can't see and make sure everything is a success.
What Do the Numbers Tell Us?
In September 2018, three children were injured when a light pole fell on an elementary school in suburban Chicago. While the inspector did not comment on the school's pole maintenance procedures, the news report found significant rust buildup on an additional pole on campus, indicating a lack of structural attention. This is just one of the thousands of lighting pole structural failures that occur in the US each year, causing property damage, injury, and in some cases even death.
In a retail light pole inspection project that spanned 1,400 sites nationwide, one firm found that 53% of light poles required some form of maintenance, and 8% of them were at a critical or critical stage. The owners of the places that have the lighting pole designed and built, in addition to compromising human safety, also carry increased insurance premiums and damaged reputation risks after the accidents.
The situation at Chicago elementary school could have been much worse, but it was also preventable. A regular maintenance and inspection program is one way to reduce risk – and it is more cost-effective than immediate repairs and replacements, saving you the expense per structure affected.
Actually It's All About Priorities
Now that you are more aware of the importance of following a structured asset management program, it is time to make it a priority in your organization. These are often overlooked, as there are no regulations on traditional lampposts that require their inspection.
Keep in mind that you can't just replace a non-working component and proceed, as an electrician does a visual inspection. It just offers a false sense of security. An electrician's primary concern and expertise is the functionality of the unit, not the structural integrity of the asset. This person will not have the training, tools, or credentials to uncover the myriad of potential problems invisible to the naked eye.
You may also be stuck with the temptation to switch to LED lighting to be “new, eco-friendly and economical”. While certainly a worthy pursuit with its many benefits, installing new commercial lights on at-risk lampposts is the equivalent of building a house on the sand. Whatever the latest craze in lighting technology, it is essential not to overlook the structures and assets that make lighting possible, rather than making lighting technology a priority.
Each of these aspects influences your asset planning and budgeting process. Whether these concepts are completely new to your organization or just a reminder, the important thing to do is formalize a lamppost maintenance program to maintain the long-term health of your structures.
The key to a successful lamppost asset management program is to be proactive. Instead of waiting for your structures to collapse, you should want to prevent what will happen and take critical steps to prevent failures. This is the difference between the "replace" approach and the "maintain" approach.
You can contact us to create a long-term asset management program for your existing lighting poles.