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DSE - Don't forget the risks

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. Display screen equipment (DSE) is any work equipment that has a screen that displays information, such as computer screens (either desk based or laptops).

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. The causes may not always be obvious. In addition, unsuitable use of DSE can lead to headaches or stress. The likelihood of experiencing these symptoms is related mainly to the frequency, duration, intensity and pace of spells of continuous use of DSE, as well as the amount of control the user has over the level of display screen use.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 apply to workers who regularly use DSE as a significant part of their normal work, for an hour or more at a time. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time. DSE users can be; at a fixed workstation, mobile workers, home workers, or hot-desking (workers should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly).

Under these regulation employers must:

  • complete 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

  • review the assessment when the user or DSE changes

A DSE assessment should be undertaken by the employer when an employee starts a new job, changes workstation, or the design of the workstation significantly changes. An existing assessment should also be reviewed if an employee becomes pregnant, or when the employee experiences any discomfort at the workstation.

You can usually avoid many of the problems associated with DSE by ensuring a good workplace design, and that the workstation is being used correctly. The training detailed above should be about the risks in DSE work and how to avoid these by safe working practices.

Triquetra EHS can provide you with a suitable and sufficient DSE assessment, as well as any further help and advice needed to ensure you are protecting your DSE users. Please contact us here.

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