Many domestic bathrooms could have potentially fatal lighting setups due to the public’s lack of awareness of safety regulations, research shows.

A survey conducted by LampShopOnline revealed that 55.3% of the British public do not know about the safety regulations for the type and positioning of lighting in the bathroom. Without the knowledge of which fixtures are safe to use near water, homeowners could be unwittingly putting themselves in danger.

Rob Holroyd, technical manager at LampShopOnline comments: “It is essential that bathroom lighting is specified with the correct Ingress Protection (IP) rating to suit the ‘zone’ it is intended for. Homeowners need to do their research and seek professional electrical advice when choosing bathroom lighting.

“Lights with the incorrect rating for use could potentially invalidate home insurance, not to mention present a serious safety risk to occupants.”

IP ratings determine the suitability of a light fitting for a particular application. The first digit of the IP number refers to the protection against ingress of foreign objects such as dust, whereas the second digit refers to the protection against moisture.

This second digit increases with the level of liquid protection. If a light’s IP number has a second digit of 0, this fitting is not protected and should be kept dry. The highest value is 8, meaning the light can safely be immersed in water for long periods.

Regulations stipulate specific IP ratings are required for particular ‘zones’ of the bathroom, depending on the likelihood of the light coming into contact with water.

Zone 0 refers to areas in direct contact, such as inside the bath or shower itself. Zone 1 is the area above the shower, whereas Zone 2 is the area surrounding the bath or washbasin. Outside Zones are areas unlikely to be subjected to water jets.

Providing lights are suitable for their specific zone, there are a variety of lighting styles available for use in the bathroom.

Steph Briggs, interior designer at La-di-da Interiors, suggests a combination of lights different purposes: “It’s good to have a variety of lights in the bathroom. For example, clear, daylight lighting focused around the mirror is great for applying make-up. For a long soak in the bath, however, you are likely to want calm, soft ambient lights. You could even opt for a striking overhead pendant light if the bathroom is big enough to take it’.