Information on Display Screen Equipment (DSE, or VDU):
Use and the DSE Regulations
- Introduction and the DSE Regulations
- Suggested steps
- Useful links to further information
- Other useful references or other resources
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) (DSE) Regulations, 1992 (as amended in 2002) sets out guidance on the minimum standards and requirements for working with Display Screen Equipment (VDUs). The DSE Regulations highlight possible risks to health from using such equipment, such as upper limb disorders (ULDs). The employer has a duty to ensure they comply with the Regulations by assessing both the workstation and the working environment of employees who regularly use computer workstations and display screen equipment.
- Analyse workstations to assess risks and take actions to reduce those risks
- Ensure workstations used meet the minimum requirements laid out in the DSE Regulations
- Plan work so that there are breaks or changes of activity. For most people taking a break to do something else is sufficient. However, where an employee works exclusively However, where an employee works exclusively at a computer then provision should be made for rest breaks.
- A DSE user can ask for an eye test and when they do so, the employer has a duty to provide one. If the user requires a special set of glasses for use at the display screen and cannot use normal ones then the employer is required to provide them. Eyesight testing is not compulsory but is often a useful first step to take if staff are complaining of problems that might be linked to the use of display screen equipment (for example sore eyes and headaches).
- Provide appropriate training and information on DSE use.
- The Display Screen itself - can the characters be easily seen on screen, can the screen height and position be suitably adjusted?
- Document Holders - are they needed by users and where used are they stable, adjustable and appropriate?
- Keyboards - are they stable, separate from the screen and is there enough space in front of the keyboard to provide support for the hands and arms when an operator is not typing?
Working Environment - is the environment free from noisy machines and printers? Is the temperature suitable? Is the lighting satisfactory and are the screens free from glare etc?
- Work desk / work surface - is there enough room for the userís knees and legs under the desk when working? Is there sufficient space to allow the user to arrange their equipment and documents to perform the job?
- Footrest - Does the user require a footrest and if so is it providing the support required?
- Work Chair - For example, is the chair height adjustable, in terms of both the actual seat height from the floor, and in allowing backrest adjustments to be made for different user needs?
- Software Design - often employers can overlook problems that can arise with the type of software used and it is important to assess whether users are experiencing problems with the software and to take remedial action as appropriate (e.g. provide more training on software packages, get technical support to prevent system crashes).
- Employers ensure that workstation assessments are carried out by appropriately competent and trained assessors.
- Following assessment, suitable adjustments to the workstation as required for the user are made.
As with all Health and Safety Regulations the employer is encouraged to assess the potential presence of risk factors associated with using Display Screen Equipment and to take actions as early as possible to reduce those risks. It is therefore important that employees are encouraged to report any problems they experience using computers and display screens, and that employers monitor trends in absence from ULDs to identify users who may potentially be at risk.
Employers should seek to provide information on appropriate support services, such as Occupational Health, GP and Ergonomics to ensure that users have access to support and advice as needed.
HSE site with general information and advice provided about work in an office environment
HSE COSHH Essentials Site
- The law on VDUs: An easy guide to making sure your office complies with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended in 2002). HSG 90 HSE Books. 2003 ISBN 0 7176 26024.
Provides practical guidance on how to comply with the regulations.
- Work with display screen equipment, Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002. Guidance on Regulations. L26 (Second Edition). HSE Books 2003. ISBN 0 7176 25826.
Provides information on the legal requirements laid out under the Regulations.
- Working with VDUs. Revised 2003. INDG 36 (Rev 2) 6/03 C4000 www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf
A general booklet describing issues associated with working with VDUs and further advice and guidance in this area.
- Aching arms (or RSI) in small businesses. IND171 (Rev 1) 2/03 C750.
ISBN 0 7176 62600 8
A useful leaflet outlining some issues and considerations that may be linked to upper limb disorders in the workplace and useful guidance.