Employers are required by law to protect their workers from the health risks associated with working with display screen equipment (DSE) such as computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Workers who use DSE on a daily basis for at least an hour at a time are protected under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. Whether someone works at a fixed, premises-based workstation; they are a mobile or home worker or they hot-desk, the law applies.

The law requires employers to carry out a DSE workstation assessment, as well as reduce risks, provide an eye test if asked for one, and provide training and information to their workforce.

Because poorly designed workstations or incorrect use of DSE equipment can lead to issues such as back, shoulder, neck, arm and wrist pain, as well as eye strain and fatigue, it is vital that employers ensure their staff are comfortable and safe in their working environments.

The use of DSE Assessment Software

Some employers elect to use software packages to help train DSE users. The software can also be used to help users take part in self-assessments. But such software really is no substitute for the advice of a trained assessor, something with which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) agrees.

The HSE states that self-assessment DSE software is ‘not an assessment on its own’ and that ‘you should always make sure a trained assessor looks at user assessment results (whether these are software or paper based).’

Trained DSE assessors bring multiple benefits to both DSE users and employers.

DSE users who carry out their own self-assessments tend to be of the belief that their workstation set-up is just fine. They will very rarely challenge the current set-up and will often simply ask for a more expensive chair, usually because they’ve seen someone else in the workplace with one. Also, DSE users often dismiss aches and pains as simply being ‘part of the job’. This of course is not the case at all. Workers should not experience any form of pain whilst carrying out their day to day tasks.

The importance of a trained DSE assessor

A trained DSE assessor will provide an objective view and will be able to make a distinction between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. So for example if a more expensive chair is requested, the assessor will challenge whether this is a genuine need that will benefit the individual DSE user. If not, this will offer cost savings to the employer.

Trained assessors are also more inclined to challenge existing behaviour and posture. They bring a fresh set of eyes, and through their experience and knowledge they are able see things that the worker will not see or realise for themselves. Assessors will provide feedback once the assessment is complete, and will help clear up any doubts the user may have.

DSE Workstation Assessment Training

At Alistair Bromhead Ltd, we offer a one-day qualification course for DSE workstation assessors. This means you can train your own in-house assessors to a high standard with the necessary knowledge, skills and level of competency to be able to carry out DSE workstation assessments. Trainees will learn best practice and corrective actions to ensure any potential DSE user issues are spotted and resolved before they turn into bigger problems.

The Alistair Bromhead Display Screen Equipment Risk Assessor Certificate Course is an in-house course lasting a single day, although it can be varied from half a day to two days depending on the group size, existing knowledge and experience, and the risk level in your individual workplace. Course documentation is provided.

To discuss any specific requirements, or to book your course, call 07932 674707 or email info@abromhead.co.uk.