Workplace Safety

Display Screen at Work Regulations

By Fiona Burns
01 Oct 2021

You’re responsible for ensuring the health & safety of your employees under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA 1974.).

There's a specific duty you must comply with regarding Display Screen Equipment (DSE) as an employer.

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

British law states you must have risk assessments of equipment with display screens. Helping to ensure display screen safety and minimise negatively health affects to your staff.

While display screen risk assessments are a legal requirement, complying with the regulation also has benefits for your business. Effective management contributes to a productive workforce by focusing on employee wellbeing.

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

What is DSE?

DSE refers to Display Screen Equipment. It is a device or equipment with an alphanumeric or graphic display screen and often refers to a computer screen.

However, it includes both conventional display screens, and those used in emerging technologies devices, including:

  1. Tablets.
  2. Smartphones.
  3. Laptops.
  4. Touchscreens.
  5. PCs.

Why is DSE important?

Looking after the health and safety of your workers is a legal requirement, but it also brings about other business advantages. Adhering to good DSE health and safety helps employees stay motivated and avoid any absences because of the health risks.

An employee who feels looked after will feel more valued and productive. Whereas if there are frequent health and safety violations, employee morale will drop as they feel underappreciated.

Therefore, practising good health and safety can improve employee wellbeing, reduce absences, and increase productivity.

However, it is not just the benefits of doing DSE assessments. There are also several risks associated with using display screen equipment for extended periods.

Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to physical pain. The causes may not always be obvious. These physical pains can include:

  1. Back pains.
  2. Fatigue.
  3. Stress.
  4. Eye strain.
  5. RSI (repetitive strain).
  6. WRULD (work-related upper limb disorders).

Display screen equipment regulations

It is part of your legal duty to protect your employees from the risks of display screens. Health and safety on display screen equipment list the requirements expected from an employer.

In 1992, the government introduced the health & safety legislation addressing issues relating to the DSE and employee health.

The legislation came into force in The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992.

Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. This means the display screen regulations apply if users are:

  1. At a fixed workstation.
  2. Mobile workers.
  3. Home workers.
  4. Hot-desking.

Employer requirements

These DSE regulations minimum requirements aim to provide a basic level of care for organisations with employees using DSE equipment.

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

  1. Conducting a DSE risk assessment for workstations, including equipment and furniture.
  2. Identifying and training DSE users, including those with disabilities.
  3. Reducing the risk to staff wherever possible.
  4. Providing eye tests when requested by staff members.
  5. Reviewing risk assessments on a regular basis or when you make workspace changes.

It’s worth noting these requirements don’t apply to staff members working with display screens infrequently—or only for short periods. However it does have to be done for remote workers, and basic risk assessments should be carried out regularly for those in long term DSE workstations.

Internal DSE policy

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.

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.

This can include how to request a new DSE workstation assessment if they feel their health is suffering.

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 eyesight tests upon request.

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

Expert support with health & safety from Croner

It is essential you correctly manage health and safety at work to stay both legally compliant and profitable.

With Croner’s help, you can ensure your staff are properly trained, avoid accidents before they occur, and protect your business from risk.

We have a free advice line for you to use where you will talk to our team of health and safety experts. So, you can rest assured knowing you’re working with the best.

If you need further support managing your health and safety in an office environment, speak to one of our health & safety experts 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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