Our recent Office Managers networking event highlighted the importance of having a DSE (Display Screen Equipment) assessment and the impact workplace adjustments has on the whole team. We have noticed during our time as DSE assessors that there is very little information accessible to help the provider fully understand the importance of the assessment…And that’s where we come in. We are always designing and making 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.
What is a DSE assessment?
DSE assessments are put into place to protect screen users under the 1992 DSE Health and Safety regulations. This includes alphanumeric or graphic or graphic display screens, laptops, touch screens and other similar devices. This is a commitment made by the employer to ensure that all of their staff are working in a healthy way.
If you work at a poorly designed workstation it can have a detrimental 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.
Who needs a DSE assessment / Legal implications
It is good practice for every individual to receive 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).
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.
Who can 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.
If you have a small business, we would suggest that you begin this process by giving out 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).
If you see that an issue has flagged up and are competent in DSE, You would then sit with the employee to assess risks, discuss the setup and start taking action to make reasonable workplace adjustments. If you find during this process that a member of staff has a particularly difficult issue or you do not have a DSE confident member of staff, this may need to be resolved by an independent DSE assessor, such as ourselves.
The self-assessment process can be time-consuming, and inefficient for large companies. For the next step up we would suggest a filtering system to flag up anyone that needs a one to one assessment. This can be done remotely with an online system where the employee fills out a self-assessment. If the employee is at risk from the information provided by the report, the online system will flag this up to an assessor (internal or external) who can help organize and complete adjustments. 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 larger 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.
Important things to remember about the Display Screen Equipment legislation
- Employees must be provided with a suitable chair with a 5-star base
- If a user requests an eye test, you are required to provide one. If this test shows that the user needs glasses for DSE work, you must pay for a basic pair of frames and lenses
- If using a self-assessment system, you must provide information, instruction and health and safety training to users to help them identify risks and safe working practices
- 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?