Guide to Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Display Screen Equipment

In our experience, Display Screen Equipment otherwise known as DSE is one of the regulations that is managed the least well by a lot of businesses.

Whether the subject seems daunting or unimportant, we couldn’t say, but it is probably the easiest subject to work on and get right with only a small amount of cost and effort in most cases. We find that in some instances, a little bit of training and re-arranging to certain desks / spaces can be all it takes.

Due to this, many offices either are unaware they are breaking the law or prefer not to address it.

What is DSE?

DSE means Display Screen Equipment which refers to anything you work with that has a screen. This usually involves a PC or laptop that has a screen that you look at. This does also consider tablet and mobile phones or anything else that has a screen. The practice of managing DSE also refers to the environment around you such as lighting, glare, temperature, noise and air quality.

Why Do Employers Need to Do This?

In simple terms, it’s the law. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations came into force in 1992. The full regulations can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/2792/contents/made

What Do We Have to Do?

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. These workers are described as “DSE Users”. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time.

If you have DSE Users in your business, consider these:

  • Have you provided training and information to your DSE users?
  • Have you considered the people when buying desk equipment?
  • Has a DSE workplace assessment been completed?
  • Would you provide an eye test if a DSE user asks for one? Are you required to?
  • Have you considered the blinds, lighting and other environmental factors?

What If We Get It Wrong?

People in your workplace could unknowingly be being affected by their workstations or surroundings. This could lead to absences that may be prevented. It is also possible that a person could develop disorders that would result in you needing to submit a RIDDOR such as Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. This could then lead to actions being taken against in the form of an enforcement action or a fine.

The affected person may also decide take out a personal injury claim against your business for the pain, discomfort and potential losses they will suffer. They are entitled to make such claims when they become injured through no fault of their own.

What Tends to Go Wrong?

Many offices, especially smaller and medium sized companies evolve from humble beginnings. As the business has grown, quite often, your business needed to buy more equipment, computers and desks but very often, these regulations weren’t considered when this happened. Before you know it, you have a space full of equipment without any knowledge of the compatibility.

Don't Stop at The Assessment

Another area where this can fail is following the assessment. Let’s assume you have identified some issues, for example, we could say that the monitor for a person is too low and needs to be raised. This can be achieved by simply buying a monitor stand or monitor arm, these can be as cheap as £10 to £30. By buying and installing the required equipment, the matter has been resolved and the person is now able to continue safely at work. BUT…. We so often see that last step of arranging the bits and pieces to make a work station complaint is missed.

There has usually been so much good work done with regards to training individuals, undertaking assessments and identifying what needs to be done. The whole thing then fails at the final stage of correcting the problem.

So What Are The Costs?

As we have mentioned before, DSE looks at the workstation and the workplace around it. The assessments may determine that only small personal adjustments are required and others may require dramatic changes to the workplaces and their layout.

Typical Low Value Changes / Requirements
Typical Higher Value Changes / Requirements

You can see from the above that the low values changes are very often the personal ones where the higher value items generally affect the office space as a whole. We appreciate that a mouse mat with a wrist support may only cost around £10 but if you need ten of them you will need to spend £100. This also applies to the other things that you may need as well.

Consider this…. You could spend a few hundred pounds on the equipment needed to make desks compliant and safe for people and this may feel like an expensive and un-necessary expense today. How much do you think the claim(s) or fine(s) will cost the business instead?

Lastly, once you have the mouse mats or monitor stands, they usually serve many years before they need replacing. When you break the costs down over many years they often equate to less than £1 per year, therefore your business is compliant and your employees are happy and safe for a relatively low annual cost.

Information Resources

Gaskell Safety only link to the information resources and hold no affiliation with the information providers or guarantee the accuracy of the information they provide. We only choose what we consider to be reputable resources and information at the time of creating the article. You should always seek professional and competent health and safety advice.

If you need help with DSE in your business or require competent health and safety services, we offer a free consultation to help you to decide if we’re right for you.

DSE Fact of The Day

DSE can lead to headaches or stress. Work-related stress, depression or anxiety continues to represent a significant ill health condition in the workforce of Great Britain. Work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounts for 44% of work-related ill health and 54% of working days lost, in 2018/19. Other factors identified included a lack of managerial support, organisational changes at work, violence and role uncertainty.

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