Display Screen Equipment

Legal Duty

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations require employers to manage the risks to workers using Display Screen Equipment such as Personal Computers.


Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is any work equipment that displays information using a screen. Whilst most people associate DSE with computer screens, the technology is also used in other types of business equipment.

Use of computer equipment may be associated with a variety of complaints such as eyestrain and pains in the neck, shoulder, back or arm. These aches and pains are sometimes referred to as Upper Limb Disorders (ULDs) or Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). Although these complaints are quite common they can be avoided by following good practice.

The Regulations apply to members of staff who habitually use Display Screen Equipment as a significant part of their normal work, including those who work from home.

People who occasionally use DSE are only affected by those parts of the regulations that specify workstation requirements (i.e. suitability and adjustment of equipment).

Although the Regulations are not specifically directed at self-employed people they do apply if, as part of their normal work, a self-employed person habitually uses Display Screen Equipment belonging to a client. In these circumstances, the client must undertake an assessment and manage risks as if the person were an employee. However, the client is not required to provide training, eye tests or plan work breaks for self-employed workers.

Conducting a DSE Assessment:

There are various ways of conducting Display Screen Equipment Risk Assessments, including automated IT solutions or paper based forms. However, whatever the method used, the assessments should cover the following:

  • Each user of Display Screen Equipment must be assessed in terms of the suitability of their workstation, their work tasks, how their work is planned, their physical location and their own personal circumstances (e.g. pre-existing medical conditions).

    Usually this can be achieved with a simple questionnaire, though if issues arise, a trained assessor may need to intervene by telephone or by a personal visit.
  • All users need training on how to set up their equipment and how to use it without risk to their health. Much of this may be achieved using on-line tuition, though the intervention of a trained assessor may be needed in some cases.
  • If the assessment identifies unsuitable or faulty equipment, this should be remedied as soon as reasonably practicable.
  • Eyesight is particularly significant and employers must provide eyesight tests free of charge to users. The frequency of tests should follow the recommendations of the optician or if the user reports any eyesight problems
  • If eyesight correction is needed (e.g. glasses), the employer must provide these in basic form. In practice, most employers make a contribution to whatever glasses the user prefers.
  • Particular care is needed with expectant mothers and those who have recently become mothers.
  • Managers are responsible for ensuring workers comply with the training they have received and workers have a duty to cooperate with their employers in this regard.

EDP provides training to enable your members of staff to carry out DSE Assessments and to provide basic training for users. If you encounter particularly difficult situations, then we have Consultants who can advise you or undertake the work for you.

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