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Photoluminescent Safety Products: What You Need to Know

By Kevin Rowe 4 months ago No comments

When the lights go off, photoluminescent safety products play an essential role in keeping your workers safe. Equipment such as glow tapes and floor markers, or photoluminescent safety signs, are vital for highlighting the safest and most effective escape routes, preventing disorientation and potentially saving lives.

However, when shopping for these products, it can be hard to know what to look for. With a range of terminology in use (including glow-in-the-dark, nite glo, photolume and photoluminescent) and seemingly so many options to choose from, how can you be sure your product does what it’s supposed to?

What’s more, many product descriptions you’ll see elsewhere online have a tendency to stretch the truth when it comes to the effectiveness of these products. To clear up this confusion, the experts at SafetyBuyer have put together some digestible information to help guide your future buying decisions.


How do photoluminescent safety products work?

Photoluminescent safety products are items that glow in the dark to assist workers with orienting themselves and evacuating the premises in the case of an emergency, even if the lights go out.

The most important aspect to understand about photoluminescent products is that they are generally designed to glow brightly for only a short initial period - long enough to help you evacuate a building - before fading quickly, emitting light at a much lower level for the next few hours.

In order to function, they require an activation period, in which they absorb light from a good light source. This means these products will not be fully effective if they are located in an area with poor lighting.

How are photoluminescent safety products classified?

To help everyone understand the performance ranges of different photoluminescent products, the UK uses a robust and easy-to-understand classification system that tells buyers how bright a product glows and how quickly it fades.

Developed by the Photoluminescent Safety Products Association (PSPA), the system categorises products into one of seven categories, depending on their luminance or brightness level at timed intervals once the light source has been removed.

Luminance mcd/m22 mins10 mins30 mins60 mins
Class A1082573
Class B21050157
Class C6901404520
Class D11002608535
Class E180040012055
Class F230052015570
Class G300065019080

With all product categories, brightness levels will decay by 76% to 80% after 10 minutes, and by 97% after an hour, as can be seen in this graph:

Trust SafetyBuyer for the most accurate information

One of the reasons it’s so important to understand the PSPA system is that many photoluminescent safety products found online are sold with very misleading performance ratings.

Products descriptions that advertise a stated luminance duration of six, 12 or even 24 hours may be technically correct, but these figures are not particularly helpful in understanding the attributes and correct use of a product that will, in reality, provide just 3% of its original luminance at the hour mark.

When investing in photoluminescent safety products, you need to be able to rely on accurate luminance duration ratings and check them against your specific anticipated emergency escape scenarios. Here at SafetyBuyer, our photoluminescent products are clearly and accurately described across our website, and are designed to meet or exceed PSPA classifications every time.

What’s more, we're always happy to provide material samples and technical certification on request, and will help to answer any questions you may have about your emergency route guidelines and escape plans.

For glow-in-the-dark solutions that deliver reliable safety and value, browse SafetyBuyer’s wide selection of safety signs, where you’ll find the products you need, clearly marked with the information you require to make an educated purchasing decision.


If you require any further assistance, call us on 0800 043 0161, or email the team at sales@safetybuyer.com.