New Lighting Rules for California Agriculture

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, Regulation


New nighttime lighting requirements have been set by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and take effect on July 1, 2020.

The new standard, “Outdoor Agricultural Operations During Hours of Darkness,” was heavily modified from the original proposal based on information provided by the agricultural industry throughout the course of the rulemaking process. It applies to all aspects of the citrus industry and other agricultural employers. The new lighting requirements will be effective for any work being performed after sundown and before sunrise.

“From my perspective, this should be something that growers can easily comply with and probably are already complying with,” Michael Miiller, director of government relations for the California Association of Winegrape Growers, said.

The new rule requires employers to provide and maintain hands-free portable personal lighting or area lighting, or both, to employees. Employees need to wear high visibility garments that meet designated standards.

The standard provides illumination levels which must be provided for various conditions. It requires 3 foot-candles (fc) for meeting and break areas; 5 fc in general work areas, restrooms, pathways and storage rooms; and 10 fc around equipment points of operation or prime movers and power transmission.

The illumination levels required may be provided by one or more light sources (e.g., lamp mounted on equipment, vehicles or personal hands-free portable lighting) or a combination of methods.

More information and assistance is available from Cal/OSHA Consultation Service online at, by calling 800-963-9424 or emailing

About the Author

Len Wilcox

Correspondent at Large for Citrus Industry Magazine and AgNet West