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Nationwide Health & Safety Training and Assessments

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Frequently Asked Questions – DSE

What is DSE?

DSE stands for Display Screen Equipment. This refers to equipment which has a graphic or alphanumeric display screen and includes pcs, laptops, touch screens and similar devices.

What is a VDU assessment?

VDU stands for Visual Display Unit. This refers to equipment which has a graphic or alphanumeric display screen and includes pcs, laptops, touch screens and similar devices.

A  VDU assessment is the same as a DSE assessment or a workstation assessment. Anyone who is regularly using a display screen/computer at work should have one.

A VDU assessment is the ideal way to identify issues with the desk set-up. A basic or standard assessment is suitable for most people. Someone who is experiencing pain or who has specific need may consider a advanced or specialist assessment.

What is a desk assessment?

A desk assessment is the same as a VDU assessment,  a DSE assessment or a workstation assessment. Anyone who is regularly using a display screen/computer at work should have one.

A desk assessment is the ideal way to identify issues with the desk set-up. A basic or standard assessment is suitable for most people. Someone who is experiencing pain or who has specific need may consider a advanced or specialist assessment.

What is a workstation assessment?

A workstation refers to equipment which has a graphic or alphanumeric display screen and includes pcs, laptops, touch screens and similar devices along with the chair, desk, keyboard, mouse, peripherals and general working environment.

A workstation assessment is the same as a VDU assessment,  a DSE assessment or a desk assessment. Anyone who is regularly using a display screen/computer at work should have one.

A workstation assessment is the ideal way to identify issues with the desk set-up. A basic or standard assessment is suitable for most people. Someone who is experiencing pain or who has specific need may consider a advanced or specialist assessment.

What is an ergonomic assessment?

Ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace to fit the user.  In an office environment, ergonomics would normally refer to the equipment the worker interacts with e.g. workstation including pcs, laptops, touch screens and similar devices along with the chair, desk, keyboard, mouse, peripherals and general working environment.

An ergonomic assessment for an office worker is essentially the same as a DSE assessment, VDU assessment,  a desk assessment or a workstation assessment. Anyone who is regularly using a display screen/computer at work should have one.

An ergonomic assessment is the ideal way to identify issues with the desk set-up. A basic or standard assessment is suitable for most people. Someone who is experiencing pain or who has specific need may consider a advanced or specialist assessment.

What is a desk assessment

A desk assessment is the same as a workstation, DSE or VDU assessment.  A desk assessment will include an assessment of the computer/display screen along with the chair, desk, keyboard, mouse, peripherals and general working environment.

Do all DSE users need an assessment?

Yes, if they use DSE for their work.  The Regulations do not apply to users who use DSE infrequently or for less than an hour a day.

How long does a DSE assessment take?

We offer a range of assessments for the differing needs of users. A standard DSE assessment takes around 20-30 minutes. For users with more complex needs, an assessment may take longer.

How often do I need a DSE assessment?

When major changes occur, the DSE must be reviewed and, if necessary, reassessed. Changes in circumstance may include a change of task, a change of workstation or equipment or a change in the user’s circumstances.

What is on a DSE assessment form?

For a standard DSE assessment, our form contains a list of the many hazards that need to be considered in categories such as posture, the chair, screen, keyboard, mouse, software, furniture and environment. To complete the form, the assessor will need to consider each category and hazards/observations noted. This form provides useful evidence of compliance with regulations.

Can I carry out a DSE self assessment?

Using our online system, you can complete a short tutorial on DSE set-up and then complete an online DSE Assessment which will provide you with tailored advice to help you solve any DSE-related issues you may have.

 

You can read more about our DSE tutorial and self assessment here

Can I use DSE if I am pregnant?

You can safely work with display screen equipment if you’re pregnant. Scientific studies have not shown any link between miscarriages or birth defects and working with DSE.

Can I use DSE if I am epileptic?

Most people with epilepsy are not affected at all by DSE.

Some people with photo-sensitive epilepsy can sometimes be affected,  but often you’ll still be able to work with DSE without having an attack. Seek medical advice if you are unsure.

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DSE Law

What are the DSE Regulations?

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 require employers to carry out a risk assessment of a workstation for each person who uses DSE as part of their work for continuous periods of an hour or more. Workers with infrequent DSE use are not covered by these regulations.

Workstations must meet certain requirements to ensure risks to the health and safety of the user are minimised.

Sufficient breaks must be taken away from DSE work.  This helps prevent fatigue, eye strain, upper limb disorders and backache. Scheduled breaks may be a solution.

Appropriate training about correct usage must be given.  This includes:

  • instruction on the correct posture to adopt in order to avoid injury and strain
  • correct positioning of equipment and furniture
  • use of software
  • who to speak to if any problems are encountered

Employers are required to provide free eye examinations for users on request. If glasses are needed specifically for DSE work, the employer should pay for a basic model.

When major changes occur, the DSE must be reviewed and, if necessary, reassessed. Changes in circumstance may include a change of task, a change of workstation or equipment or a change in the user’s circumstances.

Do all DSE users need an assessment?

Yes, if they use DSE for their work.  The Regulations do not apply to users who use DSE infrequently or for less than an hour a day.

How often do I need an assessment?

When major changes occur, the DSE must be reviewed and, if necessary, reassessed. Changes in circumstance may include a change of task, a change of workstation or equipment or a change in the user’s circumstances.

Is a DSE assessment a legal requirement?

Yes, for ‘DSE users’ a DSE or desk assessment is a legal requirement.

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 1992 apply to workers who use display screen equipment regularly (for example  daily, for an hour or more at a time).

Eye Tests

Do employers have to pay for eye tests?

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 require employers to provide free eye examinations for DSE users on request.

The employer will only have to pay for glasses if the eye test shows you need special corrective  glasses are prescribed for DSE work.

Do companies have to pay for glasses?

Employers are not obliged to pay for ordinary glasses that are for general use.

If an employee needs glasses only for DSE work, or if a different pair of glasses is needed specifically for DSE work, the employer should pay for a basic model.

Workstation set-up

What is the correct height for a computer desk?

For a person of 5’8″ to 5′ 10″, a desk height should be between 28 and 30 inches.  There are many desk models available for people who fall outside of this range.

How high should my standing desk be?

The user’s body proportions need to be taken into account when deciding how high a standing desk should be.

How should I sit at my desk?

The correct posture isn’t limited to one single position, in fact, you should vary your position throughout the day.

However,  there are guidelines you should try and stick to:

Keep your back in contact with the back of the chair.

Hips should be in line with or slightly above knees.

Feet should be flat on the floor.

Keep shoulders relaxed.

Sit approximately an arm’s length from the monitor.

Arms at right angle to desk.

What is standard desk chair height?

The standard range is from 31 to 40 inches from the floor but this varies with individual body proportions. A chair should be height adjustable so that it can be set at the best height for the user.

If a chair is uncomfortable, consider a desk assessment to find out why and how to remedy this.

Where should the monitor be positioned?

The monitor should be positioned to eliminate glare ie. not facing windows or bright lighting.

The monitor should be directly in front of the user to prevent unnecessary head turning.

The top of the screen should be approximately 30º or less below eye level.

The monitor should be at least an arm’s length away from the user.

For more information

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