Display Screen Equipment: Guide for Employers

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns


01 Mar 2019


You’re responsible for ensuring the health & safety of your employees under Section 2 of HASAWA 1974.

There's a specific duty you must comply with under a statutory instrument for working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) as an employer.

Your responsibility to staff members includes ensuring their safety when using certain technology. 

British law states there must be a risk assessment of equipment with display screens to ensure they’re not negatively affecting the health of your staff.

While DSE assessments are a legal requirement, complying with the regulation can also have benefits for your business. Effective management contributes to a productive workforce by ensuring employee wellbeing.

In this article, we’ll explore the 1992 regulation and the display screen equipment guidelines set in place to protect employees. We’ll also touch on some of the business advantages to conducting and addressing issues brought up in a risk assessment.

What is DSE?

Display Screen Equipment is alphanumeric or graphic screens. Examples include:

  • Tablets.
  • Smartphones.
  • Laptops.
  • Touchscreens.
  • PCs.

Display Screen Equipment regulations

In 1992, the government introduced the Health & Safety legislation addressing issues relating to the DSE and employee health. The directive came into force in 1993 was amended in 2002 as part of the Health & Safety (Miscellaneous amendments) regulations.

It requires you to conduct risk assessments on the effects of using display screen equipment. And arrangement of workstations, tasks and working environment in order to manage DSE risks.

The aim of the legislation is to implement a minimum requirement of care for organisations with employees using DSE equipment. 

It requires you to conduct a risk assessment to determine the risks of DSE to employee health. You must also take steps to eliminate these risks.

This British law also addresses concerns relating to the use of DSE and health problems that may be linked. These include:

  • Back pains.
  • Fatigue.
  • Stress.
  • Eye strain.
  • RSI (repetitive strain).
  • WRULD (work related upper limb disorders).

It’s worth noting this law doesn’t apply to staff members working with display screens infrequently—or only for short periods.

Are DSE assessments a legal requirement?

Yes. The government requires you to perform a risk assessment of some devices. You should provide a suitable risk analysis of all employees who fall under the requirement for the regulation.

A suitable and sufficient analysis would be one that not only identifies potential risks for hazards. It should also suggest ways of eliminating or reducing it. As well as an analysis of workstations, equipment, operator and computer interface.

You must perform a suitable analysis of the risks to all employees who fall under the requirement of this legislation.

The aim of this assessment is to ensure businesses follow the rules and regulations that were set in place in the legislation.

Employer requirements

To ensure employee safety when using DSE equipment, you must manage the situation for all staff members. This includes:

  • Conducting a DSE risk assessment for workstations including equipment and furniture.
  • Identifying and training DSE users, including those with disabilities.
  • Reducing the risk to staff wherever possible. 
  • Providing eye tests when requested by staff members.
  • Reviewing risk assessments when employee or DSE laws change.

Benefits of DSE risk assessment for business

Conducting assessments can be highly advantageous for your business. Some of the outcomes include:

  • Prevention of injuries and conditions associated with DSE use.
  • Reduction in staff absences and lost working days.
  • A drop in insurance premiums and compensation claims as a result of fewer injuries.
  • Improving general health, wellbeing and productivity of employees.

Display Screen Equipment policy

The aim of a DSE policy is to ensure you provide a safe place and system of work for employees using equipment with display screens.

Creating a DSE policy allows you to delve into more detail about your roles and responsibilities. It should include details for training and providing information to DSE users.

It’s important to highlight information relating to staff entitlements, including the right to request reasonable adjustments.

You should also ensure staff members are aware of their right to eyes tests upon request.

If tests show they require glasses for use with certain technology, they can request further help from you in ensuring they receive a suitable set. 

Expert Advice

For more information regarding DSE regulations or to create a DSE policy, contact Croner today. Call us free on: 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Fiona Burns

Fiona Burns has practical experience in Health & Safety and Risk Management having worked for major insurer prior to joining Croner.

She has gained extensive helpline experience offering competent advice and timely support to large number of clients, in various industries and at all levels.  Completed the NEBOSH General Certificate, also passed NEBOSH Environmental Diploma Unit A, (IOSH Managing Environmental responsibilities). NEBOSH Fire and Risk Management Certificate, FPA Advance Fire Training, NCRQ Diploma – Distinction currently completing IPD and volunteering for Community project in Atherstone also as a Dementia support worker with CWPT.


Fiona Burns

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