Display Screen Health and Safety FAQs

Answers to common questions about health and safety when using display screen equipment.

What are the legal requirements for DSE?

The regulations that apply to DSE are the The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. The HSE provides guidance on working safely with display screen equipment. It is also important to take into consideration the guidance note ‘Work with display screen equipment’ L26 to help ensure compliance and prevent harm.

Is DSE training a legal requirement?

It is a legal requirement for employers to provide health and safety training including DSE to their employees. The health and safety training course should be aimed at reducing or minimising the three main DSE use risk areas; physical musculoskeletal problems and disorders, visual fatigue and mental stress.

What are my responsibilities as an employer for DSE?

Employers responsibilities under the DSE regulations include:

  • Undertaking workstation risk assessments for all DSE users.
  • Providing the right working environment that meets ergonomic principles.
  • Provision of information in particular the findings from the workstation risk assessment.
  • Encouraging breaks away from DSE work.
  • Provide an eye test if an employee requests one.

Do the DSE Regulations apply if you work from home?

The Regulations still apply to homeworkers and agile workers. Employers must ensure workstation and workplace assessments are undertaken, the findings recorded and controls put in place. Employees will require a health and safety training course that helps them understand what they are expected to do and the actions to be taken to protect themselves from harm.

Using a workstation assessment tool such as the WA+ hosted on the SHINE platform allows your home and agile workers and DSE users to express their opinions about the issues associated with their tasks, work activity and the suitability of the workstation via a secure cloud-based risk management system.

Our ergonomic specialists also offer a Virtual Ergonomic Assessment for people who would benefit from tailored, one-to-one advice, in person.

How do I know if I am a DSE user?

You are a DSE user if you rely on DSE and use display screen equipment for at least an hour or more every day, or for a significant proportion of your work. The DSE Regulations also applies to you regardless of whether you have a fixed workstation, are an agile or hybrid worker, work from home or if you hotdesk.

There are some exceptions where the regulations don’t apply, which includes driver’s / control cabs for vehicles or machinery, screens on board any form of transport or portable devices that are not used for prolonged periods of time. Most employers realise that it’s important that anyone in their workforce should be treated as a user if they use DSE.

Do the DSE Regulations apply to laptops?

Yes – the DSE regulations apply to desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

How do I set-up my workstation correctly?

Incorrect workstation set-up poses health risks such as muscular problems, fatigue and eyestrain. These health issues are typically not caused by the display screen equipment itself but as a result of how it is used.

The best way to ensure your workstation is set-up correctly is by undertaking a health and safety DSE training course and then a workstation assessment undertaken by someone competent.

How often should you take breaks from your desk, and for how long?

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 suggest that breaks should be ‘periodically’ taken; there are no stated timings within the regulation. A suggestion would be as a guideline a break or change in activity of 5 minutes in every hour should be spent away from the screen or workstation.

Don’t forget to make sure you change posture regularly, refocus your eyes and move around . You can do some simple stretching exercises at your desk, or try the 20-20-20 rules (every 20 minutes, look up from your screen at something about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds).

Why do my eyes hurt when I'm working on a PC or laptop?

Computer eye strain has become a job-related complaint due to the length of time many employees are required to be at their desks Problems can range from physical tiredness, increased number of errors to eye twitching or red eyes.

If you are experiencing eye pain you should speak to your manager to book a DSE eye test. Your optician should then be able to advise a solution such as glasses, modify your workstation or take more breaks.

How do I comply with the DSE regulations if I have two screens?

If you have two screens at your workstation they should be sat side-by-side and the outer edge of each screen should be twisted towards you. Where possible, they should be the same height and size.

If I am a DSE user for work, am I entitled to a free eye test?

If an employee who is a DSE user requests an eye test from their employer, then the employer is legally obligated to pay for it.

My wrist hurts from excessive use of a mouse - what can I do?

Things you can do to reduce pain from excessive mouse use includes:

  • Wrist exercises and finger exercises.
  • Have a suitable DSE workstation assessment undertaken.
  • Switch to an ergonomic mouse.

Working at a DSE screen is causing me pain - what can I do?

Firstly, you should talk to your employer who should provide you with DSE training and / or a workstation assessment if they haven’t already.

If you are still experiencing pain or discomfort, suggestions include taking more frequent breaks, doing stretches or speaking to your GP.