DSE regulations are a part of UK law, being covered within the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992.
The Health and Safety Executive describes display screen equipment as “equipment with an alphanumeric or graphic display screen” – including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, touch screens and other devices.
These types of DSE equipment can have associations with back pain, neck and shoulder aches, arm and wrist pain, eye strain and fatigue.
Organisations whose employees regularly use display screen equipment as a key part of their daily work (at least two hours or more each day) are covered by the regulations; the employees are then known as ‘DSE users’.
If your business employs designated users, under the DSE regulations you must meet certain responsibilities, including:
- workstation assessments to manage and reduce risk
- ensuring appropriate information, training and controls are in place
- providing eye and eyesight tests on request, and special glasses if employees need them
- conducting assessments and reviews to reflect changes in personnel or equipment
DSE risk assessments should be done when a new workstation is set up, when a new user starts work, or when a substantial change is made to an existing workstation or the way it is used. You should also repeat an assessment if there is any other reason to suspect an existing version may no longer be valid: for example, if users start complaining of pain or discomfort.
Training users about the risks in DSE work and how to avoid these by safe working practices is a key responsibility. This training should cover elements such as:
- Good posture and changing position
- How to adjust chairs and other furniture
- Organising desk space to work comfortably
- Adjusting the screen and lighting to avoid reflections and glare
- Breaks and changes of activity
- Contributing to risk assessments and How to report problems.
You should also tell users about the general arrangements you have made for health and safety in their DSE work, and how they can apply for an eye test.
Useful links and resources
Our list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about DSE assessments provides further information about meeting your employers’ responsibilities.
The following links may also prove useful to enhance your knowledge of DSE regulations:
- Health and Safety Executive: Working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) leaflet
- NHS Choices: Repetitive Strain Injury