Many of us spend our working day sitting in front of our computer screens and it has become the leading reason many of us suffer from back pain. If you employ DSE users, there are several very good reasons for having a workstation or DSE assessment carried out.
Firstly there are huge gains in investing time and effort in your workforce’s wellbeing. Employers who invest in staff comfort and health enjoy numerous proven benefits such as increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and better staff retention. Then there’s the law. Complying with UK legislation is a legal requirement for all employers and potentially harsh penalties for employers that don’t.
DSE Assessment Law
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 define an employer’s responsibility to provide a DSE assessment for anyone working regularly at a workstation.
As modes of work change along with new technology, the revised regulations now incorporate the use of laptops, mobile phones, tablets and notebooks. New working practices such as hybrid working annd hot desking are also included.
Compliance with these regulations can significantly reduce the occurrence of work-related injuries and thus reduce staff absence, improve morale, increase productivity and minimise the risk of legal action.
What is a DSE Assessment?
A DSE assessment minimises risks to DSE users by ensuring workstations are set up properly and appropriately for the user.
Aside from being a legal requirement, an assessment, carried out by a competent assessor, can help combat work-related injuries such as Repetitive Strain Injury, postural problems and musculoskeletal disorders.
Do I Need an Assessment?
If you are classified as a DSE user, your employer has a legal obligation to provide you with an assessment.
The regulations define a DSE user as someone who regularly uses a workstation for more than an hour at a time. People working at a workstation in the office, mobile workers, remote workers, homeworkers and users who hot-desk are all DSE users.
A DSE Assessment Will Look at the Following
- The user – including any existing conditions or discomfort the user has
- The suitability of the equipment being used
- The task
- The environment in which the user is working
Advice should be given on good posture and on eye tests. You should also be advised on a daily routine which includes time for breaks or changes of activity.
Sometimes, additional equipment is recommended as well, i.e. a footrest or a monitor riser. The assessor should explain why these recommendations are being made.
Who Can Carry Out the Assessment?
A suitably knowledgeable member of staff can carry out assessments in-house by or you may prefer to engage the help of external agencies.
Can I Carry Out My Own Assessment?
As long as you know what to look for, yes. In fact, with hybrid working and hot desking becoming more common, being able to set up your own workstation is an invaluable skill. You can learn everything you need to know on our Workstation Set-Up and Self Assessment Workshop.
Another solution is to use an online system which guides DSE users to assess and correct their own workstation setup.
Whichever method you choose, you must keep a record of each assessment.
How Often Should I Have a DSE Assessment?
An assessment must be carried out if a new workstation is set up or new equipment is introduced. An assessment should also be repeated if the user starts to develop pain or discomfort at work.
It needn’t be complicated though…
Many organisations manage this in-house, others prefer to use an outside agency and many use an online system. If you appoint a staff member to carry out assessments, then the appointed person should attend a DSE assessor training course. Some organisations prefer to employ an outside agency to come in and carry out any number of assessments.