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20th July 2015

DSE: Display screen equipment management

Display screen equipment management

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 gives a definition of DSE as “display screen equipment” means any alphanumeric or graphic display screen, regardless of the display process involved. The person who uses the computer is the user which means an employee who habitually uses display screen equipment as a significant part of their normal work.

DSE Risk Assessment - Analysis of Workstations

In accordance with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 the employer should perform a suitable and sufficient analysis of the workstations. This is a commonly known as a DSE risk assessment in the workplace. Once the DSE risk assessment is completed the employer shall reduce the risks identified in consequence of an assessment to the lowest extent reasonably practicable.

The employer must ensure the DSE risk assessment is done on each user at planned intervals. The DSE risk assessment should cover the following:

Equipment – review such areas as...

  • Keyboard
  • Work desk or work surface
  • Work chair

The Environment should be assessed covering...

  • Space requirements
  • Lighting
  • Reflections and glare
  • Noise
  • Heat
  • Radiation
  • Humidity

The Interface between computer and operator/user

  • Software must be suitable for the task
  • Software must be easy to use and, where appropriate, adaptable to the level of knowledge or experience of the operator or user; no quantitative or qualitative checking facility may be used without the knowledge of the operators or users
  • Systems must provide feedback to operators or users on the performance of those systems
  • Systems must display information in a format and at a pace which are adapted to operators or users
  • The principles of software ergonomics must be applied, in particular to human data processing

Daily work routine of screen equipment users

The employer must plan the activities of users at work so that their daily work on display screen equipment is periodically interrupted by such breaks or changes of activity to reduce their workload at that equipment.

Instruction, information, training and supervision

The HSE have developed a very useful and informative booklet called Working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) that employers can give to all staff concerning all aspects of DSE. The employer shall ensure that they provide adequate health and safety training in the use of any workstation to all users.

Eye policy

The employer shall provide an eye test for an employee who habitually use display screen equipment as a significant part of their normal work and if required provide the user with special corrective appliances appropriate for the work being done by the user concerned.

Reports of early symptoms of potential injuries

The employer must monitor the workplace for any signs of repetitive strain injuries. The early symptoms are neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, as well as with fatigue and eyestrain. It is a recommendation to provide DSE user with information of the early warning signs so that they know to report any health issue in the acute stage. Simple changes to the position of the work equipment or their seating could prevent further injuries.

Monitoring and inspection

The employer should documented on the schedule of inspections that computer equipment and workplace environments are checked when carrying out office inspections to ensure the equipment and environment are safe to the user.

Maintenance of computers

The maintenance of computers and other accessories (disk drive, telephone, modem, printer, document holder, work chair, work desk, work surface or other item peripheral to the display screen equipment) must be carried out by a competent engineer. The business must ensure that all computer equipment is visually inspected and had portable appliance testing at planned intervals depending on frequency of use.


In summary the following is required with DSE management:

  • Check that all users of display screen equipment have completed DSE risk assessments
  • Investigate any reports of early symptoms of repetitive strain injury
  • Use a competent engineer to install, maintain or repair all computer equipment
  • Ensure that all computer equipment are regularly maintained
  • Ensure all staff know the details of the eye policy

QCS Heath & Safety policies

QCS have guidance and policies to support your service in meeting the requirements of health and safety.

Sally Beck RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc, CMIOSH – QCS Expert Health and Safety Contributor

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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