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How to Conduct a DSE Workstation Assessment

May 2024

 

Using a computer for work is nearly a foregone conclusion for the working population, with almost nine out of ten employed adults using computers to do their work. Deskwork is often underestimated for the negative impact it can have on health in the long term, but a disorganised workstation can have long-term negative effects on your body.

Bearing this in mind, employers have to understand the importance of proper Display Screen Equipment (DSE) practices and the laws that govern them.

 

What is Display Screen Equipment (DSE)?

The term Display Screen Equipment refers to any device or piece of equipment with a display screen used for work purposes, including computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

DSE is crystalised in the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 in the UK, and every employer should take time to understand their responsibilities within the eyes of the law. These regulations were created to ensure the safe and healthy use of such equipment to prevent health issues commonly associated with prolonged use, such as:

 

What is a Workstation?

In the context of health and safety, a workstation refers to the arrangement and equipment used by a person to perform their work tasks. This typically includes not only the desk or work surface but also any associated chairs, computers, monitors, etc.

Having an ergonomically sound workstation will go a long way to ensuring that employees remain pain-free whilst at work, and conducting a DSE Workstation Assessment is a vital step in that process.

 

Conducting a DSE Workstation Assessment

A DSE Workstation Assessment is a form of risk assessment – a term that can be used interchangeably with DSE assessment. When conducting one, look at the following components:

Screen

  • Height and Position: Ensure the top of the screen is at or slightly below eye level and about arm’s length away.
  • Brightness and Contrast: Adjust the brightness and contrast of your screen for comfortable viewing without glare or reflections.

Chair

  • Adjustability: Check if the chair is adjustable in height, backrest angle, and seat depth.
  • Support: Ensure the backrest provides adequate lumbar support.
  • Footrests: Offer footrests if feet do not rest flat on the floor.

Desk

  • Height: The desk should be at a height that allows the user’s forearms to be parallel to the floor.
  • Space: Ensure there is enough space for the user’s legs and that the desk is free from clutter.

Keyboard and Mouse

  • Position: Place the keyboard and mouse within easy reach and at the same level, ensuring the wrists are straight and hands are not overstretched.
  • Support: Consider wrist supports if necessary.

Environment

  • Lighting: Ensure adequate lighting external to the screen, without causing screen glare. Although dim or no lighting will not adversely affect your eyesight, it will tire your eyes out quickly.
  • Noise: Reduce noise levels to reduce distractions. Pro Tip: If you work in an office that can get noisy at times, a set of “high fidelity” earplugs will help lower all volumes without completely blocking sounds. 
  • Temperature and Humidity: Ensure a comfortable working environment. Utilise fans, air conditioning and opening windows where necessary.

Ergonomic Adjustments

  • Make Necessary Adjustments: Adjust the workstation according to the assessment findings.
  • Demonstrate Proper Use: Show the user how to adjust their equipment and maintain proper posture.

Provide Training and Information

  • Training: Offer training on ergonomic practices and the importance of regular breaks. Courses such as the Astutis IIRSM DSE and Wellbeing Toolkit Course are good for this purpose.
  • User Guide: Provide a guide or handbook on maintaining an ergonomic workstation.

 

DSE and Wellbeing Training Courses

As our workdays become more digitally driven, issues related to DSE are on the rise, ranging from musculoskeletal discomfort to mental health concerns. Education and training is the first step on the ladder of health and safety, and the Astutis IIRSM DSE and Wellbeing Toolkit Course is designed to give learners a theoretical understanding of why DSE is important and what they can do to ensure they work pain-free. Employees will learn how to:

  • Identify hazards (including less obvious ones) and assess risks from the workstation.
  • Draw conclusions from DSE workstation assessments and identify steps to reduce risks.
  • Make a clear record of the assessment and communicate the findings to those who need to take appropriate action, and to the worker concerned.

Protect the well-being and health of the employees below to ensure their continued productivity and happiness in the workplace.

 

 

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