As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PC’s, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time.

Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstation or work environments can lead to pain in necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain. The causes may not always be obvious.

How to protect workers’ health

In law, employers must:

  • Do a DSE workstation assessment
  • Reduce risks, including making sure workers take regular breaks from DSE work or do something different
  • Provide an eye test if a worker asks for one
  • Provide training and information for workers

Who does the law apply to?

  • Mobile workers
  • Home workers
  • Persons at a fixed workstation
  • Hot-desking

Workstations and Equipment

Employers should look at;

  • The whole workstation, including equipment, furniture, and work conditions
  • The job being done
  • Any special requirements of a member of staff, for example a user with a disability

Employers must also remember to do a new assessment when;

  • A new workstation is set up
  • A new user starts work
  • A change is made to an existing workstation or the way it is used
  • Users complain of pain or discomfort

Work routine and breaks

The law says that employers must plan work so there are breaks or changes of activity for employees who are DSE users.

Eyes and eyesight testing

The law says employers must arrange an eye test for DSE users if they ask for one, and provide glasses if an employee needs them only for DSE use.

DSE work does not cause permanent damage to eyes, but long spells of DSE work can lead to things such as; Tired eyes, discomfort, temporary short-sightedness or headaches.

Training and information

Employers must provide health and safety training and information for DSE users. Training should be about the risks in DSE work, and how to avoid these by safe working practices. It should include the following;

  • Good posture
  • Adjusting chairs and other furniture
  • Arranging desk space
  • Adjusting screens and lighting
  • Breaks and changes of activity
  • Risk assessments
  • How to report problems

HSE’s leaflet Working with display screen equipment gives more information about how to comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations.

You can find detailed advice on the regulations in Work with display screen equipment

bSure Testing provides a Display Screen Equipment Awareness course, this course is aimed at users of DSE. Follow this link to have a look at the course – click here