Health & Safety Regulations




1. Display Screen Equipment


Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is an appliance or equipment that has a display screen, regardless of the display process involved; it includes both conventional display screens and those used in technologies such as laptops, touch-screens and other similar devices.

Computer workstations or equipment can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, as well as with tiredness and eyestrain. Surveys have found that a high proportion of DSE workers report aches, pains or eye discomfort.

These aches and pains are sometimes called upper limb disorders, which can include a range of medical conditions. Most of these conditions do not indicate any serious ill health, but it is sensible to avoid them as far as possible.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 aim to protect the health of people who work with DSE. The Regulations were introduced because DSE has become one of the most common types of work equipment.

That does not mean that DSE work is risky, it isn't. Upper limb disorders can be avoided if users follow effective practice, set up their workstations properly and take breaks during drawn out use. By just taking a few simple precautions, work with DSE can be more comfortable and productive.

The Regulations require employers to analyse workstations and assess and reduce risks; employers also need to look at:

  • The whole workstation including equipment, furniture and the work environment

  • The job being done

  • Any special needs of individual staff; where risks are identified, take steps to reduce them.

  • Ensure workstations meet minimum requirements

  • Plan work so there are breaks or changes of activity

  • On request arrange eye tests, and provide spectacles if special ones are needed

  • Provide health and safety training and information for staff

A risk assessment should be completed when a new workstation is set up, when a new user starts work, or when a substantial change is made to an existing workstation (or the way it is used). Assessments should be reviewed if there is any reason to suspect they may no longer be valid, for example, if users start complaining of pain or discomfort.

DSE staff training should cover elements such as:

  • Adopting good posture

  • How to adjust chairs and other furniture

  • Organising desk space to work comfortably

  • Adjusting the screen and lighting to avoid reflections and glare

  • Breaks and changes of activity

  • Contributing to risk assessments

  • How to report problems

Employers should also tell users about the general arrangements they have made for DSE health and safety and how they can apply for an eye test.  

If you are a DSE user and think you have health problems connected with your work, it’s best to talk to your supervisor, manager or safety representative in the first instance.  Employers have a duty to consult their employees or employee representatives on health and safety issues.

It is good practice for employers to encourage early reporting of health problems, help sufferers obtain treatment they need and help them return to work.


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