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  • Writer's pictureDorset Health and Safety

Working safely with display screen equipment

As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. We describe these workers as 'DSE users'. The regulations don't apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time.

How to protect workers' health

In law, employers must:

  • do a DSE workstation assessment

  • reduce risks, including making sure workers take breaks from DSE work or do something different

  • provide an eye test if a worker asks for one

  • provide training and information for workers

Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to pain in necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain. The causes may not always be obvious.

The law applies if users are, for example:

  • at a fixed workstation

  • mobile workers

  • home workers

  • hot-desking (workers should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly)

More DSE guidance

HSE's leaflet Working with display screen equipment gives more information about how to comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations.

You can find detailed advice on the regulations in Work with display screen equipment.

Advice on using DSE if you're pregnant or have epilepsy is available.

Workstations and assessment

If workers use display screen equipment (DSE) daily, as part of their normal work, continuously for an hour or more, employers must do a workstation assessment.

Employers should look at:

  • the whole workstation, including equipment, furniture, and work conditions

  • the job being done

  • any special requirements of a member of staff, for example a user with a disability

Where there are risks, they should take steps to reduce them.

Employers must also do an assessment when:

  • a new workstation is set up

  • a new user starts work

  • a change is made to an existing workstation or the way it's used

  • users complain of pain or discomfort

DSE Training

To comply with the law in regards to training, Dorset Health and Safety Limited offer this very useful DSE eLearning course for only £25 which can be accessed below. This course is approved by IIRSM and is aimed at all users of display screen equipment.

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