NEMA states case for lighting as critical manufacturing in coronavirus wake

April 6, 2020
Department of Homeland Security has not explicitly identified lighting manufacturing as critical relative to operating during the coronavirus pandemic, but NEMA states the case.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), supported by members of its Lighting Systems Division, has issued a press release stating the organization’s belief that lighting manufacturing should be considered “critical manufacturing” and allowed to continue to operate through the trying times of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, the organization said that lighting manufacturers, and primarily that implies makers of LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL), provide for safely lit and secure environments for a wide set of essential sectors and applications including medical, grocery, banks, highways, bridges, and more.

Evidently, the NEMA press release was prompted by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a document that organization issued recently entitled “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.” That document describes what the organization considers the “critical infrastructure workforce.” But that document does not explicitly mention lighting manufacturing.

Now the DHS document does explicitly state that its document is “advisory in nature.” The agency said it did not intend the document to be an exclusive list of critical sectors. And the DHS said individual jurisdictions will have the ultimate say in terms of which companies can continue to operate during the pandemic.

The NEMA press release in fact seems to acknowledge that very DHS language. The organization states that all levels of government should support the concept that lighting and medical imaging are critical in reducing the health threat of COVID-19. And NEMA says policymakers at all levels of government should adopt that position.

The organization has further posited that the supply chain for lighting manufacturers also be recognized as critical and essential. The release concluded saying, “None of these critical businesses can operate without the lighting system devices and products produced by NEMA Member lighting companies, and this clearly identifies the need for continuation of lighting.”

The lighting industry has stepped up in many ways already in the wake of the pandemic. We recently had an article that described how members of the National Lighting Bureau are donating lighting for use in the coronavirus testing tents being erected across the nation. We also had a story that describes how China is beginning the recovery process from COVID-19 and that mentions how A.L.P. Lighting Components has converted an optics manufacturing line to make medical protective gear.