As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, 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, which is a huge percentage of workers, ranging from office staff to delivery drivers.

Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to pain in necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain. They can be caused by poor design of work stations (and associated equipment such as chairs), insufficient space, lack of training or not taking breaks from display screen work. Sometimes the causes will not be obvious.

How to protect workers’ health: 

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

Employers should look at the whole workstation, including equipment, furniture and work conditions, but also the job being done. Any special requirement of a member of staff, for example a user with a disability, needs to be assessed and on a regular basis, as change may occur.

The law applies if users are, for example:

  • At a fixed workstation
  • Home workers
  • Hot-desking (workers should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly)

Employers must also do an 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’s used
  • Users complain of pain or discomfort

While display screen risk assessments are a legal requirement, complying with the regulation also has benefits for your business. Effective management contributes to a productive workforce by focusing on employee wellbeing. Adhering to good DSE health and safety helps employees stay motivated and avoid any absences because of the health risks.

Also, an employee who feels he or she is looked after will feel more valued and productive, whereas if there are frequent health and safety violations, employee morale will drop as they feel under appreciated. Therefore, practising good health and safety can improve employee wellbeing, reduce absences, and increase productivity.

Here at Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy we can offer assessments which are non-disruptive and are conducted at the individual’s work station by one of our experts to assess the potential risks. As part of the assessments we will provide each user with guidance in achieving the optimum arrangement and posture, and help you the employer achieve compliance.

For further information and assistance in working with display screen equipment and any other health and safety services please contact us here. Midlands Health and Safety Consultancy is a specialist provider of Health and Safety support and health and safety training to businesses throughout the West Midlands and Staffordshire.