Employers with more than five staff members are required by law to undertake regular risk assessment for all employees who use display screen equipment for more than one hour at a time in their working day.
This means that your workers must be properly trained and regularly assessed. This information should be appropriately recorded on a formal DSE assessment document and in an up to date written risk assessment.
The form of the assessment needs to be appropriate to the nature of the tasks undertaken and the complexity of the workstation. For most office tasks the assessment can be a judgement based on responses to a pre-determined checklist.
Where particular risks are apparent, however, and for complex situations, for example where safety of others is a critical factor, a more detailed assessment may be appropriate. This could include a task analysis where particular job stresses had been identified, recording of posture, physical measurement of workstations, or quantitative surveys of lighting and glare.
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Assessments can be made by health and safety personnel, or other in-house staff, if they have (or are trained for) the abilities required. It may be necessary to call in outside expertise where DSE or associated components are faulty in design or use, where workstation design is complex, or where critical tasks are being performed. When in-house personnel are trained to act as assessors, suitable checks should be made afterwards that assessors have understood the information given to them and have reached an adequate level of competence.
Employees need to be referred for a DSE assessment when:
major changes are made to the equipment, furniture, work environment or software
users change workstations
the nature of work tasks change considerably
it is thought that the controls in place may be causing other problems
If you employ many users of DSE, it may help to instruct us to perform regular, multiple assessments. Our trained assessors can help you recognise risky workstation layouts, environments and practices.
We can help you to:
provide employee training on conducting necessary basic self-assessment
review user assessments or checklists to identify any additional controls
tackle problems the user is unable to solve
decide when additional information and help is needed, and where to go for it
to record significant findings
The assessment will highlight any particular areas which may give reason for concern, and these will require further evaluation and corrective action as appropriate. Risks identified in the assessment must be remedied as quickly as possible.
For typical applications of DSE, such as computers in offices, remedial action is often straightforward, for example:
Postural problems may be overcome by simple adjustments to the workstation such as repositioning equipment or adjusting the chair. Postural problems can also indicate a need to reinforce the user’s training. New equipment such as a footrest or document holder may be required in some cases.
Visual problems may also be tackled by straightforward means such as repositioning the screen or using blinds to avoid glare, placing the screen at a more comfortable viewing distance from the user, or by ensuring the screen is kept clean. In some cases, new equipment such as window blinds or more appropriate lighting may be needed.
Fatigue and stress may be alleviated by correcting obvious defects in the workstation as indicated above, and ensuring the software is appropriate to the task.