Display screen equipment (DSE) is equipment and devices with a graphic or alphanumeric display screen, e.g. smartphones, PCs, laptops and tablets. The term workstation refers to a user's screen, keyboard, other parts of the computer and its accessories, desk, chair and immediate work environment. Many workers use DSE on a daily basis, which can result in a number of health problems. The primary risks associated with DSE use are musculoskeletal problems, eye fatigue and mental stress. The aforementioned consequences are not inevitable and they are often multifactorial, so cannot be entirely attributed to using DSE. However, regular risk assessment and the adoption of good DSE practices helps to reduce these risks. Completion of the DSE workstation checklist makes up part of DSE risk assessment which allows you to identify and act on areas of risk, thus protecting the health and safety of your DSE users.
What Does a Display Screen Equipment Workstation Checklist Cover?
The checklist concentrates solely on the DSE user's workstation and covers the following areas:
- Mouse, trackball, etc.
- Display screens
- Furniture (e.g. chair, desk and paper equipment)
- Environment (e.g. space, lighting, air quality, temperature, noise)
However, other factors, such as health and safety training and DSE breaks also require an employer's attention.
How is the Display Screen Equipment Workstation Checklist Used?
The checklist contains a number of DSE risk factors which are to be assessed. Ticking yes to each of the risk factor questions means that no further investigation or remedial action is required. The checklist can be used to comply with the Schedule to the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992) as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002. DSE protection extends to employees working at their employer's workstation, another employer's workstation or a home workstation. The workstation analysis should be repeated if there is any reason to suspect that it is no longer valid or if there has been a significant change to the workstation.
Who must complete a Display Screen Equipment Workstation Checklist?
A DSE workstation checklist must be completed for each DSE user. Employees are classed as DSE users if they meet all of the following criteria:
- They normally use DSE for continuous (or nearly continuous) periods of an hour or more at a time
- They use DSE pretty much daily
- They have to transfer information quickly to or from the DSE
- They fulfil one of the following criteria:
- Need to use high levels of attention and concentration
- Are very dependent on the DSE or have little choice over using it
- Require special training or skills to use the DSE
Users can complete the DSE checklist themselves, as long as they are given adequate training to use it.
Why is the Display Screen Equipment Workstation Checklist Important?
Completing a DSE workstation checklist is a fundamental step in performing a DSE risk assessment. This is important primarily because it protects the health and safety of workers, but also because it is a legal requirement. Once any DSE risks have been identified, measures can be put in place to address them. Another requirement of the Display Screen Equipment Regulation 1992 regulation is that employers provide their DSE users with health and safety training. As well as informing users on how to look after themselves whilst using DSE at work, training also raises awareness of the importance of good DSE practices.