The lighting of work places has a significant influence on the surrounding and working conditions of people. The geographic and demographic situations in Europe, established perceptions, mentalities and habits, but also the social and economic framework conditions are partly highly different. It is therefore understandable that the creation of the most important standard in light and lighting technology – meaning EN 12464-1 "Light and lighting – Lighting of indoor work places" – triggered numerous differences of opinion and necessitated compromise (see also chapter , "Rules and standards").
The aim of the CEN standardisation body in question was, instead of many details, to create a framework of definitions for lighting indoor work places within which designers and users of the standard can align with their own technical and regional possibilities.
Thus, the partially great differences in earlier national technology regulations for indoor lighting were resolved and preconditions for similar working and visual conditions for all people in Europe were created. In that respect, these uniform standards also contributed to the societal and social harmonisation in the European Union.
The first edition of EN 12464-1 appearing in 2003 has been adopted as a revised version in 2011. The following is based on this new edition.
With the guidelines 89/654/EEC and 92/58/EEC on minimum provisions for safety and health in work places/at workstations, the European Union has also carried this process further. These guidelines must be implemented as national legislation. In Germany, this was done through the work place ordinance "Arbeitsstättenverordnung" (ArbStättV of 24.8.2004).