Why do we do Display Screen Equipment Assessments ?

The applicable law Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 requires all companies to ensure that employees who are significant users of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) are not exposed to risks associated with DSE (ie computers and laptops).

What are the health risks with DSE? Some workers may experience fatigue, eye strain, upper limb problems and backache from overuse or improper use of DSE. These problems can also be experienced from poorly designed workstations or work environments. The causes may not always be obvious and can be due to a combination of factors.

How to control the risk, As an employer, you need to assess the risks associated with using DSE equipment and any special needs of individual staff. You may find the DSE workstation checklist (On HSE.gov.uk) website.

Each significant user of DSE must be assessed and any issues identified must be addressed. A significant user is someone who typically works on a computer for an hour or more continuously. Although this may vary depending on the individual.

It is absolutely essential that follow up actions are implemented following an assessment. The number of companies I have worked with do all the hard work and complete assessments, but fail to follow up areas identified as an issue. So the identified risks are not always addressed.

The purpose of any risk assessment is to reduce the risks from identified hazards to as low as reasonably practical so when current controls are considered inadequate we have to either change the process to a safer one, or implement improved controls and/or implement suitable PPE supported by adequate and suitable training.

DSE in a number of companies is seen to be a trivial issue and not to be taken seriously, however in this day and age where Laptops, Ipads,Desk Tops etc etc are the “norm” the health and safety issues are only likely to become more significant. If the person entering data that is crucial for production or service is constantly off ill because of headaches brought on by eye strain, or through repetitive strain injury brought on by poor work station set up, then the DSE takes on a more of a meaning.

A good health and safety system that is driven by top management and involves the staff at all levels to think safely has been proven to improve productivity, reduce lost production time and improve moral.

So get your DSE assessments completed and make sure you follow up on all concerns raised.