What is a DSE assessment
Most employers are required to carry out a DSE assessment, but what exactly is one, and what does it need to cover? To start, let’s understand what DSE is, then look at how we can assess it.
What is DSE?
DSE stands for Display Screen Equipment. As the name suggests, a DSE assessment is an assessment of Display Screen Equipment. Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is a device or equipment with a display screen and often refers to a computer screen. However, it includes both conventional display screens and those used in emerging technologies such as laptops, touchscreens and other similar devices.
In a work environment, desktop computers are traditionally looked at when considering DSE, but it is important to consider other display screens such as tablets, laptops and smartphones.
What is a DSE assessment?
A DSE assessment is an assessment of risk from the way we use computers, laptops, tablets and other display screens at work. Each workstation should be assessed, and the risks reduced as low as is practical.
A DSE assessment looks at how a user works at their workstation. Like any risk assessments, the aim is to identify the hazards and assess the likelihood and severity of harm to those that may be affected. Then, reduce the risk by altering the workstation or providing tools to make it comfortable.
If you have sat at a computer screen for a long time, you may already be familiar with some of the hazards. Poor posture or lack of movement throughout the day can lead to back pain. Staring at the screen for long lengths of time can give you headaches.
But it’s not just computer screens that are causing issues. Slouching over your phone, tablet or handheld device for even a short length of time can give you neck and upper back pain.
Why do we need a DSE assessment?
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations. These regulations lay out some key requirements for employers surrounding the use of DSE, one of which is the need to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of workstations used in the workplace.
2.—(1) Every employer shall perform a suitable and sufficient analysis of those workstations which – (regardless of who has provided them) are used for the purposes of his undertaking by users; or have been provided by him and are used for the purposes of his undertaking by operators The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
Any workstation used by your business, regardless of who provides it, should be assessed. So DSE requirements apply to co-working spaces, remote working, temporary workplaces and your own offices.
However, this should not just be considered a tick box exercise to comply with legal requirements. A DSE assessment can actually help combat ill-health and conditions, such as epilepsy and therefore improve health and productivity in the workforce.
What does a DSE risk assessment cover?
Problems are often caused by the way we use our DSE. The display screen may not be the cause of back pain, but the way you sit at it could. Computer workstations or equipment can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, as well as with fatigue and eyestrain.
So, it’s not just the display screen that needs to be assessed. Everything to do with the use of the equipment should be considered. Other items looked at in the assessment includes, the keyboard, the mouse, furniture and the environment.
The assessment should also encompass the general environment and includes lighting, reflections, glare, temperature, humidity and noise. All of these elements can impact how the equipment is used, and the risks to users.
The business benefits to DSE assessments
Display screen equipment are the most common tool used across all businesses, and can offer many benefits to a business including:
Improved health, wellbeing and morale for DSE users
Sustained production from reduced sick leave
Minimising the risk of compensation claims for upper limb disorders
Reduced administration costs
Encourages positive behaviour and adoption of DSE good practice.
Improved organisation safety
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University of Wolverhampton
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