24th Dec, 2019 Read time 2 minutes

How to work with display screen equipment safely

An increasingly important area of health and safety is the effect working on computer screens can have on employees. The development of screen protection laws in 1992 has helped to bring greater clarity around how to work with display equipment in a safe manner.

Some of the specifics outlined in the regulations include the legal requirement for employers to offer free eye tests and also encourage employees to take screen breaks.

In HSE terms, those working on computers are defined as display screen equipment (DSE) users.

What types of devices fall under the legislation?

The rules around display screens typically include desktops and laptops, and any device that displays a lot of data on the screen. Some screen-based work is exempt from the rules; these include calculators, cash registers and other devices that do not display a lot of data.

Devices that fall under DSE regulations

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • TV screens
  • CCTV screens
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Equipment display screens
  • Handheld devices
  • Projection screens

How to minimise risk when working with display screen equipment

As part of standard risk assessments, employers should consider how they can reduce the risk of injury from display screens.

  1. Stop employees from straining eyes at work

Regular work at display screens can have an impact on your vision. Encouraging employees to take regular breaks and take eye tests will help to minimise the damage.


  1. Encourage regular breaks for your employees

One of the most convenient and effective ways to deal with DSE risks is to encourage your employees to take breaks. Many workplaces offer admin activities that allow employees to keep working away from their desks.


  1. Make sure your employees adopt an ergonomic seating position

You may be surprised by the difference a posture can make. Giving your employees ergonomic chairs and equipment will help them work safely at their screens. Standing desks will also be


What are the risks of working with display equipment?

Taking the steps towards safe screen working will help to reduce the risk of ill health. Issues include headaches, eye strain and poor posture. Slouching and a poor ergonomic seating position can lead to back pain and issues later in life.

Helping your employees to work safely at their display screens has proven links to increased productivity. To make sure your employees are safe you can carry out a specialised DSE assessment.


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