Protecting the health of people who work with Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Display Screen Equipment is a device or piece of equipment that has an alphanumeric or graphic display screen, which includes conventional desktop computers as well as newer technologies such as laptops, touch screens and other similar devices.

Long periods of computer-based work has been linked with musculo-skeletal symptoms such as aches and pains in the lower back, neck, shoulders wrists and hands, as well as fatigue, headaches and eyestrain. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992  were introduced to protect the health of people who work with DSE, especially as this has now become one of the most common kind of work equipment. Making a few small adjustments to workstations and working practices, can make working environments more comfortable and reduces the risk of developing any symptoms relating to this type of work, and  reduce the risk of sickness absence due to developing health conditions.

The Regulations require a DSE risk assessment to be conducted on any workstation where an individual has been identified as a ‘DSE user’ and that users are provided appropriate training and are informed of the risks associated with working with DSE and what steps to take to reduce these risks. Employers also need to provide regular eye tests for their DSE users and corrective appliances (glasses) where the corrective appliances are needed solely for DSE use.

There are times when individuals may still develop musculo-skeletal symptoms, eyestrain or fatigue, even when a workstation risk assessment has been conducted and training been given. In these situations, an occupational health assessment is recommended, which can help identify any work or non-work factors that may be contributing to the symptoms. In many cases, small adjustments to the workstation layout, employee’s posture or taking extra breaks from sitting can reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms significantly. An occupational health nurse can also advise the employee on whether or not they should see their GP for a diagnosis or possible treatment, as well as provide both the employer and employee on appropriate steps to take to minimise further symptoms.

An occupational health provider can help you organise your workplace to ensure that you are compliant with the DSE Regulations, which can include training your staff to undertake risk assessments, or undertaking them for you. Please get in touch  to discuss the needs of your workplace today.

On February 1, 2015, posted in: Occupational Health Posts by