Display screen equipment FAQs

If you want to know more about display screen equipment assessments and your responsibilities as an employer, The DSE Partnership’s FAQs and answers should help to get you on track.
Got any questions that aren’t answered here? Please email enquiries@thedsepartnership.co.uk for informal help and a friendly chat.
[clear] What are my responsibilities as an employer?

  • Analyse workstations to assess and reduce risks
  • Ensure workstations meet specified minimum requirements
  • Plan work activities so that they include breaks or changes of activity
  • Provide eye and eyesight tests on request and special spectacles if needed
  • Provide information and training outlining the risks associated with working posture

Can I be exempt from display screen equipment assessments?

  • No, as the display screen equipment assessment is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety regulations. It protects employees from overworking or working in an environment which is not conducive to good health

What if I choose not to assess display screen equipment in my workplace?

  • If an employer decides not to undertake DSE assessments, their employees are in a very strong legal position should they suffer from a musculoskeletal disorder at work. The legal implications are likely to be considerably more expensive.

Who needs a display screen equipment assessment?

  • Anyone who sits a workstation for continuous or near continuous spells of an hour or more is recommended to have an assessment

How long does a display screen equipment assessment take?

  • Online assessments take approximately 30 to 45 minutes and can be done in stages if necessary
  • One-to-one assessments take approximately 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the individual and their work environment

Where does a display screen equipment assessment take place?

  • DSE assessments are undertaken in your workplace. The online assessment can be completed in your own time and in stages if necessary, whilst one-to-one assessments are carried out at your desk with a medical professional

What’s involved in the online DSE assessments?

  • A series of questions regarding workstation setup and any pains being experienced. The easy to follow assessment has video and image content to explain each question

What’s involved in a one-to-one DSE assessment?

  • A medical professional will visit each employee at their workstation and carry out a detailed assessment to improve their comfort, including a questionnaire to highlight areas of concern
  • Changes to the workstation setup will be made at the time of the visit, unless this is not possible. Those changes which cannot be made immediately will be sent to the line manager for follow up

Who provides the assessment?

  • With workstation-related musculoskeletal pains on the increase, it’s becoming more commonplace for a medical professional to undertake the assessment. At The DSE Partnership, all our assessors are experienced osteopaths with a BSc degree qualification. They have also all undertaken postgraduate qualifications in ergonomics

Is VAT chargeable on display screen equipment assessments?

  • VAT is charged on the online assessments, but one-to-one assessments are exempt from VAT as they fall under ‘healthcare’

How frequently should breaks from DSE work take place?

  • This depends on the kind of work you are doing. There is no legal limit, but you need to break up long spells of DSE work
  • Short, frequent breaks are better than longer breaks; but less frequent ones, (say 5-10 minutes every hour) are better than 20 minutes every two hours
  • Ideally, users should have some choice about when to take breaks. Most jobs provide opportunities to pause from screen work to do other tasks such as filing or copying. If there are no such natural changes of activity in your job, the employer should plan for employes to have rest breaks
  • It is best if breaks or changes of activity allow the user to get up from their workstation and move around, or at least, stretch and change posture

 How can I protect my eyes from display screen equipment work?

  • Extensive research has found no evidence that DSE work causes disease or any permanent damage to eyes. However, long spells of DSE work can lead to tired eyes, discomfort, temporary short-sightedness and headaches. DSE work is visually demanding, so it can make you aware of eyesight problems not noticed before, including natural change that happens with age
  • You can help your eyes by ensuring your screen is well positioned and properly adjusted and that lighting conditions and humidity levels are suitable
  • Employers must assess DSE workstations and correct any defects. You can also ask your employer for an eye test, which could help identify and correct any defects in your vision