Everything you need to know about DSE

We have noticed during our time as DSE assessors that there is very little information to help the provider fully understand the importance of the assessment…And that’s where we come in. We are always designing new tools to help you keep your workplace healthier and happier, by the end of this post, we hope that you understand the basics of DSE assessments.

What is a DSE assessment?

DSE=Display Screen Equipment

DSE assessments are put into place to protect screen users under the 1992 DSE Health and Safety regulations. If workers use display screen equipment daily for an hour or more, they must take a DSE assessment. If you work at a poorly designed workstation, it can have a negative effect on your wellbeing and risk further health complications. The causes are not always obvious and need to be assessed by the assessor and/or individual. The employer then needs to make reasonable workplace adjustments to ensure that the user is working safely and feel comfortable at work.

What is looked at in a DSE assessment

Display screen equipment is anything with a screen that displays information such as:

  • Desktop computers and monitors
  • Laptops
  • Smart phones, tablets and touchscreen devices

Display screens aren’t the only things that are looked at and assessed in a DSE, these are also assessed:

  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Furniture (desk and chair)
  • Work environment

a DSE assessment required:

  • A new person joins work
  • A workstation is changed
  • A new workstation is set up
  • The user is experiencing discomfort and pain due to workstation

DSE health risks

Even the most expensive and well-designed workstation can cause issues down the line if not set up correctly. This is a preventative measure to ensure that employees do not end up with workstation related issues such as carpal tunnel, MSD’s (musculoskeletal disorders) and repetitive strain injuries. If an employee develops chronic issues during their time working with you, and you do not have a DSE assessment on file, they may have grounds to raise a grievance.

Other DSE health risks:

  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Backache

Who needs a DSE assessment / Legal implications

Every individual who uses DSE for an hour or more regularly should complete a DSE assessment on an ongoing basis, regardless of the size of the company. Legally display screen users in companies of 5 or more employers must, by law have a written DSE assessment on file.

There is a grey area as to how many assessments employees should receive throughout their time with the company, but we would always recommend that new starters receive a full assessment and anytime that the workplace changes thereafter (ie moving to a  new desk, furniture alterations, office move).

DSE reviews need to be reviewed when the users changes workstation, the nature of work changes, the nature of adjustment is causing more issues or major workstation changes are made

Even the most expensive and well-designed workstation can cause issues down the line if not set up correctly. This is a preventative measure to ensure that employees do not end up with workstation related issues such as carpal tunnel, MSD’s (musculoskeletal disorders) and repetitive strain injuries. If an employee develops chronic issues during their time working with you, and you do not have a DSE assessment on file, they may have grounds to raise a grievance.

How can you deliver a DSE assessment?

There are a number of ways to deliver a DSE assessment. This is usually dependent on the size of the organisation, the severity of pre-existing conditions, time limitations and general workplace culture:

Self Assessment

If you have a small business, we would suggest that you begin this process by distributing self-assessments for your staff to complete. This self-assessment must be completed by the individual and checked by the person responsible for monitoring the DSE assessments (ideally DSE qualified).

After the self assessment has been completed, someone DSE qualified or with some DSE knowledge can go through the assessment and check for any issues. You will then need to sit with the employee to assess the risks that came up and discuss the changes that need to be made.

Next, you’ll need to make the adjustments to the DSE users’ workstation. If you’re unsure of how to make these adjustments and could do with some extra support, you can contact DSE assessors, such as ourselves. We can help by coming into your workplace and assessing the workstation in person or in a virtual session. We will find the solutions needed to ensure the workstation is correctly set up and follows DSE guidelines and also that the user is happy and comfortable with their new set up.

Online System

Self-assessments can be time-consuming. An online DSE assessment saves time and money. It takes care of administration, reporting and gives automated solutions, all you have to is make the adjustments to the workstation. The DSE user fills out the assessment form online. The assessor gets sent a report and any issues or risks will be flagged so they know what adjustments need to be made. Hybrid and remote workers can easily do an online DSE assessment as it’s all online. This system requires a license for each user to keep track of all the correspondence that has taken place. It will also flag any pesky employees that fail to complete their assessments. All in all, this solution is excellent for bigger companies, if you would like more information about online assessments, please contact us directly.

Independent one to one assessments

This is where we come in. Sometimes you will need to seek the expertise of a qualified assessor for complex issues. We not only provide the written assessment but also make adjustments to the workplace, suggest solutions to alleviate the issue and training to ensure that the individual is working safely. We usually find that around 5% of the company will need a more in-depth action plan to keep them safe and comfortable at work.

dse assessment guide and training

Download your free guide

Need some more information? Download your free copy of our ‘understanding DSE assessments to help you figure out your legal duties, the benefits of workstation assessments, and how to get the best from your team.

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Things to think about…

  • Office furniture needs to be DSE compliant i.e. suitable chair with a 5-star base
  • DSE reviews need to be reviewed when the users changes workstation, the nature of work changes, the nature of adjustment is causing more issues or major workstation changes are made
  • The assessor chosen to complete the workstation assessment must be suitably trained
  • Keep in mind, remote workers and hot desk users. What procedures have you put into place to help them work safely?
Do you need some advice about your workplace?

Get in touch and one of our team would be happy to help answer your questions.

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