Display Screen Equipment Basics
Display screen equipment (DSE) is all equipment that a person would use to view information on a screen. All computer monitors, televisions, projected screens etc fall into this category. It is often a category of hazard that is overlooked as the consequences come into effect only after a long period of time and are very gradual. Display screen hazards are increasingly common in households via televisions, computers, laptops, PDAs, tablet computers, mobile phones etc and the hazards to a user’s eyes and posture are often not considered due to user ignorance etc. These hazards are also very present in the workplace too as the same technology is used to carry out work on a day to day basis.
The Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992 from the Health and Safety Executive set out an approach to be adopted to sufficiently control all the associated hazards when using display screen equipment for a certain period of time in the workplace. These regulations are in place to ensure that everyone is aware of the hazards associated with display screen equipment and what specific duties they have in their job in relation to DSE.
The Regulations place duties on employers towards their own employees who are DSE ‘users’. The employer also has a responsibility towards other users who, although not employed by themselves, use their DSE. This does not include eyesight testing or initial training. ‘Display screen equipment’ (DSE) is any alphanumeric or graphic display screen, no matter how the displayed graphic is produced, e.g. computer screens, microfiche viewers, etc. linear vibrating screen
Not everyone who uses DSE is covered by the Regulations. ‘Users’ are people who normally use DSE for continuous spells up to an hour, for two or more hours, more or less daily and have to transfer information quickly to or from the screen. Occasional use of DSE should not mean a person is a ‘user’. The regulations also cover work stations around the DSE. ‘Work station’ means an assembly of the DSE and its surrounding environment including chairs, tables, phones, printer, draws, desks or other relevant items. The regulations set parameters and requirements in relation to the user, equipment, workstations and the work environment.
The main duties of the employer and user include assessing DSE workstations and reduce risks, which are discovered. It is also important to ensure that the work areas comply with minimum requirements which are laid out for the screen itself. Display screen equipment work should be planned so that breaks are taken often or there are suitable changes of repetitive motions. Awareness through information and shaping behaviour through training for display screen equipment and users should be provided so that awareness is at an optimal level. Display screen equipment users should also be entitled to appropriate eye and eyesight tests. Special spectacles should also be supplied if they are required when normal spectacles cannot be used in certain circumstances.