Display screen equipment (DSE) is the term coined for devices and equipment that have a graphic or alphanumeric display screen. This includes PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones and microfiche readers. Given the vast quantity of time that many workers spend in front of display screens, creating and maintaining a comfortable and healthy workspace is imperative. Poor posture and unsuitable work environments can contribute towards the development of many aches and pains, commonly affecting the upper limb, back and eyes. Training staff members in how to maintain good posture and work conditions within their workspace is essential. Display screen equipment training courses are invaluable in increasing awareness and knowledge around safe working conditions. Staff should be encouraged to take responsibility for their own health and employers should be familiar with their legal requirements.
What is Display Screen Equipment and how is it Used?
As outlined above, the term Display Screen Equipment encompasses many computers and devices that are used on a daily basis within businesses (e.g. smartphones, PCs, laptops and tablets). Virtually all office workers have access to DSE and use it on a regular basis. While its use is not high risk as such, careful protections should be put in place to protect DSE users. Dependent on how regularly a worker uses their DSE and for what duration, they may be covered by the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992. Whilst workers who infrequently use DSE, or only use it for short periods of time, are not covered by the legislation, their health is still of paramount importance and should be protected accordingly. Employers should familiarise themselves with their responsibilities regarding DSE users.
How to Use Your Display Screen Equipment Correctly
DSE arrangement is not a one-size fits all concept; therefore your equipment must be set up to suit you individually. Good posture is essential in maintaining good health whilst using DSE. It can be facilitated by organising your workspace in a comfortable layout. You should maintain an upright posture in a chair with proper back support and adjust it to your height. Also, your forearms should be horizontal when typing with straight wrists and comfortably curved fingertips. Similarly, your screen should be centrally positioned and an arm’s length in front of you with your eyes level with the top of the screen. You should regularly look away from your screens to avoid tiring your eyes and take regular breaks. Keeping active throughout the day is important. It is recommended that you organise your work so that every hour you spend at least five minutes doing work activities away from your screen such as photocopying, making calls, etc. There are also a number of workstation exercises that can be performed at your desk to help prevent fatigue, pain and discomfort. As well as organising your time, it is beneficial to organise your workspace. For example, the items that you use most frequently should be stored in the closest proximity to you and the ones used more rarely kept further afield. Furthermore, keeping your desk free from clutter is vital.
Why is it Important to Use Your Display Screen Equipment Correctly?
Poor safety regarding DSE usage can result in a multitude of ailments, including aches and pains, headaches, musculoskeletal disorders, stress and tired eyes. In order to protect workers from these unpleasant repercussions, it is essential to put a spotlight on proper DSE usage. Display screen equipment training is a fundamental way of generating awareness of the importance of workers looking after their own health. Additionally, education enables DSE users to implement and maintain good working practices. The Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992 outlines an employer’s responsibility to provide DSE users with health and safety training regarding the use of DSE at work.