Display Screen Equipment (DSE)
Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is a device or equipment that has an alphanumeric or graphic display screen, regardless of the display process involved, and includes both conventional display screens and those using emerging technologies, such as laptops, touch-screens and other similar devices.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations aim to protect the health of people who work with DSE. The Regulations were introduced because DSE has become one of the most common types of work equipment.
The Regulations only apply to employers whose workers regularly use DSE as a significant part of their normal work. These workers are known as DSE ‘users’.
The Regulations do not apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or for short periods of time. However, it may be useful for these workers if the guidance on the Regulations published by the Health and Safety Executive, and that contained in Policy HS11 – Display Screen Equipment, is followed.
As an employer the Council must assess the risks associated with using DSE equipment and any special needs of individual employees. DSE workstation assessments should therefore be undertaken for every ‘user’ and then used to decide what needs to be done and to check that action is taken. Assessments should be recorded and reviewed as necessary.
The Council must also provide DSE users with information, instruction and health and safety training to help them identify risks and safe working practices.
Some workers may experience neck, shoulder, arm or wrist pain [often referred to as upper limb disorders (ULDs), or work related upper limb disorders (WRULDs)], or back pain, fatigue or eyestrain from overuse or improper use of DSE. These problems can also be experienced due to poorly designed workstations or work environments. The causes may not always be obvious and can be due to a combination of factors.
That doesn’t mean that DSE work is risky – it isn’t if users follow effective practice, set up their workstations properly and take breaks during prolonged use.
Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that DSE work will cause permanent damage to eyes or eyesight, nor that it makes existing defects worse. However, it can make anyone with a vision defect more aware of it, and some employees may experience temporary visual fatigue that can lead to symptoms such as blurred vision, red or sore eyes or headaches.
The Regulations therefore require employers to make provision for eye tests for DSE users and to provide glasses if they are required specifically for DSE work. If users’ normal glasses are suitable for DSE work, the Council does not have to pay for them. Even when the Council are required to pay, there is no requirement for it to pay for expensive frames or lenses. Further guidance is available in the guidance on the Regulations published by the Health and Safety Executive and in Scheme HS11A – Eye and Eyesight Tests and Special Corrective Appliances.
Advice on DSE can be obtained from the Health and Safety Team, Tŷ Elai, Williamstown, CF40 1NY, telephone number 01443 425546.