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Display Screen Equipment(DSE) Risk Assessments

Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002

Health and Safety Considerations When Using Computer Equipment

Computer workstations or equipment can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pains, fatigue and eyestrain and the regulations were introduced because of the high incidence of problems.  These aches and pains are sometimes called upper limb disorders (ULDs) or repetitive strain injuries (RSI). These problems can be avoided by following good practice. 

Display screen equipment
(DSE) is any equipment having a screen that displays information, for example, computer screens, often called monitors or VDUs.

Anyone who uses display screen equipment regularly for more than one hour continuously, i.e. without any breaks away from the screen, or anyone who uses the display screen for more than three hours in total in a normal day, is classed as a significant “User”.  If an employee has not previously been and then become a significant “User” they will be eligible for a free eye test.  This includes newly hired employees.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 impose specifications for the type of equipment to be used and each employee should complete a Display Screen Risk Assessment, covering the display screen equipment, its set-up, its usage etc

Employers must:

Identify what display screen equipment and which users in your workplace are covered.

Assess each workstation then ensure that it meets the minimum requirements, remembering that “workstation” covers the screen, the furniture, the chair and the environment as well as the special needs of the user

Plan the work of your DSE users so there are breaks or changes of activity

On request provide eye and eyesight tests, and spectacles if special ones are necessary.

Provide training and information. Providing users with a copy of the HSE guidance is a good start.

Check the equipment associated with the use of DSE such as chairs, desks, keyboards etc to ensure that they are suitable and help reduce any risks

Workstations should be suitable for the people using them and for the work they do. If work can or must be done sitting, seats which are suitable for the people using them and for the work they do should be provided. Seating should give adequate support for the lower back, and footrests should be provided for workers who cannot place their feet flat on the floor.  People should be able to leave workstations swiftly in an emergency.

Pregnancy and Display Screen Equipment

Research indicates that the VDUs themselves are extremely unlikey to cause harm.  It is the way that they are used, or the stress induced by their use that causes injury or strain.  There is no evidence that VDUs damage the eyes but working with poor screens, glare or badly lighting may add to tiredness.  Problems can very often be avoided by good workplace design, allowing employees to work comfortably, and by good working practices (allowing employees to take frequent short breaks from the VDU, preventing at times to suit themselves). See our additional information on pregnant workers.

There has been considerable public concern about reports of higher levels of miscarriage and birth defects among some groups of visual display unit (VDU) workers, in particular due to electromagnetic radiation. Many scientific studies have been carried out, but taken as a whole, the HSE takes the view that their results do not show any link between miscarriages or birth defects and working with VDUs. Research and reviews of scientific evidence will continue to be undertaken by the HSE.

Contact Us to conduct a Display Screen Risk Assessment for you.

Additional Reading:

Quick Guide - DSE Workers - Employer's Guide
Quick Guide - Tips for VDU Users
Quick Guide - VDU Users - Frequently Asked Questions

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