In this article, our expert Health & Safety Consultant, Colin Jones, discusses the DSE assessment that employers should carry out if their employees use DSE daily.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for continuous periods of an hour or more. These workers are describe‘ as ‘DSE users’. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short period of time in relation to their day to day work.
The regulations do not distinguish work place or homeworking as any different. Employers have a duty by law to ensure DSE Assessment has taken place for those working from home. If necessary and where practicable employers should provide an adequate workstation/chair as if that person worked in an office.
Employers should endeavour to provide DSE users in the workplace as much information and reminders of the importance of proper use of DSE. The main points being that users should take regular breaks. 5 to 10 mins away from the screen every 60 minutes is ideal. Also correct posture in a suitable chair whilst working and using the keyboard and mouse must also be encouraged.
Employers must also be aware that should a DSE user request an eye test, then the employer is obliged to pay for that test. How that is done can be agreed with the employee, i.e., reimburse the employee or arrange with an optician. The test is specifically a DSE eye test and not a routine eye test if someone already has prescription glasses.
If the DSE eye test shows the user would need glasses for use of DSE then the employer must pay for those glasses. If the glasses recommended are general prescription then the employer is not obliged to pay for those glasses.
Ensure that the workplace or home working is set up with adequate lighting and ventilation. If the work station is fit for purpose, the user considers their own posture, and takes regular breaks as necessary then this will go a long way to prevent any long term problems to eyes, back, wrists and hands which can be debilitating.
The recent survey found high prevalence in DSE users of self-reported symptoms.
Most of those reporting symptoms did not take any time off work. These findings are broadly consistent with other studies.
It is worth bearing in mind that DSE users can and do experience long term conditions such as repetitive strain injury, long term neck, back or shoulder problems. These can be painful and can seriously effect people’s quality of life.
The best practice is to ensure DSE assessment are carried out at least annually. If you move offices or if changes have occurred in a user’s home then a review of the assessment must be done.
Conduct timely reminders to all employees to ensure that good posture is maintained. The importance of taking breaks away from the workstation should also be communicated.
We can help by providing templated DSE Assessments so that you are able to conduct these assessments for your employees in the office and for those working from home.
Our team of expert Health & Safety consultants are on hand to provide you with advice on using DSE. They can help to ensure that your employees and their workplaces are as safe as possible in order to reduce the symptoms that DSE can cause.
T: 0330 107 1037