Passive safe lighting columns

With the introduction of BS EN 12767: 2007 and various TRL reports lighting designers now need to consider the use of passive safe lighting columns within new street lighting designs.

As a brief introduction, as passive safe street lighting column is a column manufactured from materials such as aluminium which during impact by a vehicle fold or collapse in a designed manor so as to reduce injury to the vehicles occupants. Road casualties have reduced in recent years since the introduction of safety ratings of cars however there is an industry drive within lighting to help reduce these figures further. Passive safe sign posts are also available for both illuminated and non illuminated furniture, which the later often found to be lattice posts. Any item of passive safe street lighting furniture should have an electrical disconnection system that meets current regulations so as to reduce the risk of shock to the vehicle occupants, emergency services and electrical contractor – who might be first on the scene of an accident.

As with any risk assessment that you produce, the street lighting designer should, as far as possible, design out any risk of injury.

Passive safe lighting columns are not required on all roads, and this only applies when dealing with roads over a certain speed limit. If a passive safe scheme is required, there are various types of different columns available which will act different during impact, these are NE (Non energy), LE (Low Energy) and HE (High Energy). Careful consideration should be given  to the correct type of lighting column for your lighting design scheme, we would recommend producing a risk assessment for the column selection process, so that the street lighting designer can highlight any risk to vehicles and pedestrians (NMU – Non motorised users).

As discussed above, a suitable electrical disconnection system will be required for a passive safe street lighting installation, there are various manufacturers who can offer disconnection systems via a disconnection plug system with the electrical equipment housed in a chamber adjacent to the column or via an over ground system. Each system can have specific benefit depending on the area and location of the lighting design.

Special consideration also needs to be given to any furniture which is not passive safe and located within the clear zone at the kerb edge. This may require relocation to a suitable safe distance.

For further details on passive safe street lighting installations please contact a member of the MMA Lighting Consultancy street lighting design team:

Reading Office – 0118 321 5636

Hull Office – 01482 772 421

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