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A guide to DSE health and safety

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Many people use devices like computers, laptops, tablets and phones every day for work. These people are known as display screen equipment (DSE) users, or visual display unit (VDU) users.

Using devices for extended periods increases the risk of health issues like eyestrain, back pain and repetitive strain injuries. For this reason, employers are required by law to take certain measures to protect DSE users.

What is DSE and what are the DSE regulations?

Display screen equipment refers to any device with an alphanumeric or graphic display screen. This includes desktop computers, laptops, phones and tablets. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 were drawn up (and amended in 2002) to protect DSE users: people who use DSE every day for more than an hour at a time.

The regulations stipulate exactly what measures employers should take to protect DSE users from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

We offer 3 options for DSE-compliance:

DSE assessments

Book DSE assessments

Our experienced, trained DSE assessors carry out a range of display screen equipment assessments to identify risks and propose solutions.

Online DSE self-assessment

Online self-assessment

Our engaging, interactive e-learning DSE course trains staff to set their workstations up suitably in an efficient, cost-effective way.

Train internal DSE assessors

Train internal DSE assessors

Save the cost of hiring external DSE assessors by training employees. Our expert trainers deliver two DSE courses to provide the skills to properly assess workstations.

Not sure what you need?

Our DSE experts are on-hand to help you work out the best route to DSE-compliance for your company. Often it depends on how many people are in your organisation and the nature of their roles.

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What DSE measures should employers take?

According to the display screen equipment regulations, employers should:

illustration showing best DSE practice for a workstation setup
  • Assess workstations to identify and reduce risks
  • Make sure risk controls are in place
  • Provide training and information
  • Provide eye tests on request
  • Provide special spectacles (if needed)
  • Review assessment if user or set-up changes

What are the DSE risks?

There are several risks associated with using display screen equipment for extended periods:

Eyestrain

Eyestrain

Fatigue

Fatigue

Upper limb problems

Upper limb problems

Shoulder, neck and back pain

Shoulder, neck and back pain

These health issues can come about with poorly designed workstations or improper use of DSE, including overuse.
The cause is often difficult to pinpoint and can be due to a combination of factors.

What are the benefits of being DSE-compliant?

The benefits to employers include:

Fewer musculoskeletal disorders

Fewer MSDs

Lower absenteeism

Lower absenteeism

Higher productivity

Higher productivity

Happy, comfy workforce<

Happy, comfy workforce

Staff feel valued

Staff feel valued

Lower staff turnover

Lower staff turnover

The obvious benefit of being DSE-compliant is that you are not breaking health and safety law. We can help you stay DSE compliant - but being compliant with the DSE regulations is just the start. Your goal is to reduce workplace risks as far as possible, both for regular DSE-users and those who occasionally use it.

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DSE set-up tips and resources

Useful one-pagers to help spread healthy working habits.

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