Display screen equipment

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is the term used to define electronic devices used at work, such as computers, laptops and handheld devices. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 state that DSE includes “any alphanumeric or graphic display screen, regardless of the display process involved.’

A DSE ‘user’ is someone who uses DSE ‘daily, for continuous periods of an hour or more’. Only users who fall within this definition are covered by the DSE Regulations, but it is good practice to ensure that every member of staff is comfortable in their workplace set up, and uses equipment suitable for the task.

If an employer has one or more DSE users in their workplace, they are obliged to:

• analyse workstations to assess and reduce risks;
• make sure controls are in place;
• provide information and training;
• provide eye and eyesight tests on request, and special spectacles if needed; and
• review the assessment when the user or DSE changes.

The Regulations require that all employers carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment on workstations and it is suggested that a suitable way is to use an ergonomic checklist, which covers items such as the visual display unit, the keyboard, mouse or trackpad, as well as the user’s general workstation and chair. Trained personnel must carry out the DSE risk assessment, and must be familiar with the main requirements of the DSE Regulations. They should have the ability to:

• identify hazards and assess risks;
• draw valid and reliable conclusions from assessments and identify steps to reduce risk;
• make a clear record of the assessment and communicate findings to those who need to take action and to the worker concerned; and
• recognise their own limitations as to the assessment so that further expertise can be called upon if necessary.