Using Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Safely

Screens are so intrinsic to our working life that it’s easy to forget we’re using them.

For many of us, the more noteworthy time is that spent not looking at a monitor, tablet or mobile device.

Poorly structured work and environments can produce back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as repetitive strain injuries that can affect the hands, wrists and arms. Too much screen time can damage our eyes, cause fatigue, and reduce the effectiveness of our colleagues.

Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, employers have a duty to protect employees from screen-related harm, and to train people to use screens safely. Beyond the legal obligation, it makes good business sense to ensure that essential business tools make us more productive – without damaging our health.

The law applies to all colleagues that use DSE in their work, including home workers, in-house employees and hot-deskers – who may not have a permanent desk, but still need to have a safe, sustainable work space.

Display screen assessments

If workers use screens every day, for an hour or more, employers must complete a workstation assessment. This should be conducted by a trained assessor and should consider:

  • Workspace: including desk, monitor, chair, keyboard and other inputs
  • Work: including typical tasks and other processes
  • Worker: including any special requirements on the part of the employee

If risks are identified, employers are encouraged to take action and minimise all risks.

Taking breaks

Encourage employees to take breaks from using DSE. This might mean attending a meeting, preparing paperwork or delivering a presentation. The key thing is that colleagues perform a variety of work tasks and take breaks from using display screens.


Employers must provide training on how to use DSE safely. This training should include:

  • Posture
  • Risks of using DSE
  • Arranging desks
  • Reducing glare and reflections
  • Risk assessments
  • Taking breaks
  • Reporting concerns.

Ergonomic workspaces

In many modern offices, employees share desks and work from a variety of spaces, such as their home, meeting rooms, canteens and cafes. While this variety can be refreshing for our colleagues, consideration must be given to the effects of working in non-traditional spaces.

How can employees work safely if they are crouching over their laptop on a crowded train? While not all situations can be improved, employees can install flexible workspace equipment so that desks and monitors can be easily adjusted to suit different people.

Encouraging employees to use external monitors and mice can help improve posture and reduce repetitive strain injuries (RSI).

Eye tests

You must provide eye tests if employees request them. While using screens doesn’t cause eye damage, it can very tiring on eyes, and can make people aware of eye conditions that they hadn’t noticed previously. If your employees need glasses just for DSE work, then you must provide them.

Display screen equipment eLearning from DeltaNet

Do you need to deliver DSE training to your colleagues? Our eLearning courses make training quick and easy to deliver. And because it can be delivered on your premises, it is affordable to deliver and easy to refresh periodically – or to provide to new joiners.

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