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An Employers Guide to Understanding Display Screen Equipment

An Employers Guide to Understanding Display Screen Equipment

Businesses today are making the most of digital equipment. Many of these are known as Display Screen Equipment or DSE for short.

While most display screens do not cause harm, using them incorrectly can lead to future health risks. Employers must protect workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment, such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

In this blog, we will take a look at what is DSE, what the law covers and how to manage devices for office and home workers.

What is Display Screen Equipment?

Display Screen Equipment are devices that use an alphanumeric or graphic display screen. The equipment is used significantly as part of the employees’ normal work and includes: -

- Personal computers and laptops,

- Smartphones,

- Tablets,

- Flat panel displays,

- Television or CCTV screens.

DSE use also covers monitors, keyboards, or ergonomic chairs too.

What is the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992?

This is the law that applies to those who we class as an employee, worker, or self- employed person. When it comes to DSE, employers have a legal requirement to:

- Carry out a DSE Risk Assessment,

- Manage tasks and work environments,

- Ensure DSE training is relevant and updated,

- Provide additional support for relevant devices or technology,

- Cover the costs of eye tests and glasses if applicable.

Do I have to comply with the DSE regulations?

As an employer it is essential that you comply with the regulations. If you do not, it could result in workplace accidents, resulting in lost wages or work entitlements for the employee. It could even result in an employment tribunal, and you may end up paying compensation awards.

Every employer has a legal duty to protect workers’ health and wellbeing during DSE use. It’s important to note that this includes in the office or working from home.

What are the health risks associated with DSE?

There are several health risks associated with the incorrect use of display screen equipment. Although some may only affect the worker for a short period of time, some can have a permanent affect on their everyday life.

Health risks associated with DSE include: -

- Eye strain – this can be caused by poor screen brightness, screen distance, and lack of eye protection e.g., glasses. Eye strain can cause sore eyes, dizziness, and even sleep issues.

- Musculoskeletal disorders – these illnesses are often linked to poorly designed workstations. Common musculoskeletal disorders can cause repetitive strain injuries to limbs, muscles, and bones.

- Carpal tunnel syndrome – this is often caused by compression to wrists, hands, and legs. It is also linked to work related upper limb disorders and lower limb illnesses too.

- Mental health illnesses – these often occur when DSE users work for long, extended periods without adequate breaks. Common mental health illnesses that can occur are fatigue, stress and depression.

Who is classed as a DSE user?

Anyone that uses Display Screen Equipment for more than one hour a day. DSE users generally have a specific workstation e.g., fixed workstation, hot desking, or remote working. If you use the DSE equipment less frequently or for short periods of time you may not be classed as a DSE user.

How do I manage display screen equipment in the workplace?

Let’s look at the ways of managing display screen equipment in the workplace: -

- Identify your DSE users.

- DSE Risk Assessment – this is the 1 st step for employers. It helps ensure that your employees’ workstations are safe to use and compliant with the law. The assessment may cover devices, furniture and workstations. It may highlight a need for ergonomic furniture e.g., a pregnant employee may need support cushions, leg rests etc.

- Ensure DSE users take regular breaks. There is no legal requirement on how long or often the breaks should be, however complying with the Working Time Regulations 1998 proves to be a good starting point. Employees should be encouraged to move away from their workstations, maintain good posture and move position from time to time e.g., stand up.

- Provide a DSE safety training course. This type of training covers areas such as the right position for desks, monitors and workstations, ensures employees know the correct posture for working, reducing risks from screen glare and blue-light exposure, and taking breaks away from workstations.

- Offer eye tests when needed. In some cases, employers may need to pay for glasses too. This extends to the use of specialised glasses not the ordinary prescriptions that a DSE user may request.

ST Safety Service provides advice on DSE

Every employer has a legal requirement to comply with DSE safety legislation. Do not neglect the regulations if you do, you could end up injuring people, paying fines, and suffering business losses.

ST Safety Services offer expert advice and can tailor our services to meet your business need. Want to find out more? Contact Us.