If like many workers in the UK, your staff spend a lot of time sitting in front of display screen equipment (DSE), you need to make sure you’ve completed a DSE assessment to ensure their working environment meets UK occupational health and safety regulations.
The modern style of office work has been standard in business around the UK for decades. In the 1980s however, reports emerged that long periods of time working at badly designed workstations led to an increased risk of poor health and absence from work. The key issues being upper limb musculoskeletal disorders, including backache, fatigue, stress, temporary eye strain and headaches. This new information and the ever-growing use of display screen equipment and computers meant the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) regulations were introduced in 1992.
DSE work is defined as any work that includes the use of a display screen, including a desktop or laptop computer, mobile phone or tablet, for more than an hour at a time and the law applies no matter whether your staff have fixed workstations, hot desk or work at home or in a mobile capacity.
The employer’s responsibility under the DSE regulations can be broken down into four key parts:
- The completion of a DSE workstation assessment
- Risk reduction including breaks away from screens
- The provision of eye tests for any employees who ask for one
- The provision of relevant training and information for workers
A workstation assessment should be undertaken by a competent person who must consider the whole workstation, including the display screen equipment itself, as well as furniture and general working conditions. This assessment process must be completed within the context of the work being done as well as any special requirements of staff members. These assessments should be completed whenever a new workstation is set up, a new staff member joins your team, a major change is made to an existing workstation or a staff member complains of pain or discomfort.
There is no direct guidance on how breaks from DSE activity should be implemented as it varies on the types of work undertaken, though taking regular short breaks is preferable. In most jobs there are regular tasks that include natural breaks from screen use, however, if there are no natural changes in activity then employers should have planned rest breaks. Some companies introduce one of the many available digital break-monitoring services for this reason.
Employees should have access to health and safety information on display screen use. This should include good posture, adjusting furniture and arranging desk space, risk assessments and more.
For more information on DSE assessments and workplace health and safety, contact us today. Honest Employment Law Practice is here for you. We can take of the whole process for you, arranging workplace assessment and training for you and helping you keep your team healthy and efficient. Our 24/7 support team is on hand no matter where you are and we’re available to you without the need for long-term contracts – just simple monthly payments that you can cancel at any time. You can give us a call on 01543 431050 or contact us online using our online contact form.