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Working Safely with Display Screen Equipment: A Quick Guide

Dive into our quick guide to the 'Working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE)' leaflet from the Health and Safety Executive, a must-read for both employers and employees frequently using computers and laptops as part of their daily work. It lays out key responsibilities for employers, such as risk assessment, provision of training, and mandatory eye tests. Simultaneously, it highlights the potential health risks linked to DSE usage like fatigue and musculoskeletal problems. Embark on this journey to create a safer, healthier digital workspace!

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This article provides a quick guide to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) document titled Working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE). The document outlines the regulations and recommendations for employers and employees who work with DSE such as computers and laptops. It is particularly relevant to those who use DSE as a significant part of their normal work.

Who Does This Apply To?

The regulations apply to employers whose workers regularly use DSE as a significant part of their normal work. These workers are known as DSE users. The regulations do not apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or for short periods of time. However, the controls described in the document may still be useful for these workers.

Key Responsibilities of Employers

If you have DSE users, you are required to:

  • Analyse workstations to assess and reduce risks
  • Ensure controls are in place
  • Provide information and training
  • Provide eye and eyesight tests on request, and special spectacles if needed
  • Review the assessment when the user or DSE changes

Health Risks Associated with DSE

Some workers may experience fatigue, eye strain, upper limb problems and backache from overuse or improper use of DSE. These problems can also be experienced from poorly designed workstations or work environments.

Consulting Your Employees on DSE

Collaboration with your employees helps you to manage the potential health problems associated with DSE. Consultation involves employers not only giving information to employees, but also listening to them and taking account of what they say before making health and safety decisions.

How to Control the Risk

Employers are required to assess the risks associated with using DSE equipment and any special needs of individual staff. The document provides a detailed checklist and guidance on workstation assessments, including tips for getting comfortable, well-designed workstations, using a mouse, reading the screen, and changes in activity.

Eye Tests and Spectacles for DSE Work

If a user or a potential user requests an eye test, you are required to provide one. If the test shows that the user needs glasses specifically for DSE work, you must pay for a basic pair of frames and lenses.


DSE assessments need to be reviewed when major changes are made to the equipment, furniture, work environment or software; users change workstations; the nature of work tasks change considerably; or it is thought that the controls in place may be causing other problems.


This article has provided a quick guide to the HSE's 'Working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE)' document. It is important for employers and employees who work with DSE to understand and implement the regulations and recommendations outlined in the document to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.


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Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

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