What is duty of care?

Duty of care

Duty of care is a legal term which means that reasonable measures are put in place to protect your employees physiological and psychological wellbeing. A hotly debated topic at the moment is how employers are remotely monitoring the duty of care whilst offices are deemed too risky to open and more people are working from home. The guidance from HSE has recently been updated to take home working into account, stating that:

“For those people who are working at home on a long-term basis, the risks associated with using display screen equipment (DSE) must be controlled. This includes them doing workstation assessments at home”.

Health & Safety executive
Home working, working from home tips, advice

Who does the DSE duty of care apply to?

HSE has highlighted that:

“As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones”.

“The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. We describe these workers as ‘DSE users’. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a short time”.

In short, this means that any employee that uses a screen to work for an hour or more a day regardless of where they are working will need to be assessed to reduce the risks associated with a poor workstation set-up.

We’ve broken down everything you need to know about DSE in our guide which you can read here.

Understanding DSE Assessments

We don’t believe that assessments should be ‘tick box compliance’ but make a tangible difference in peoples working lives. Sign up to our newsletter below to get your free guide to making the most out of your DSE assessments

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How to protect workers’ health

HSE has updated their guidance to make it abundantly clear that home-workers will need to be reviewed and cared for. The law applies if users are, for example:

  • home workers
  • at a fixed workstation
  • mobile workers
  • hot-desking (workers should carry out a basic risk assessment if they change desks regularly)

Employers must:

As restrictions ease, many companies are moving towards a hybrid working model, where employees will work between both the office and home. This means an assessment for both should be undertaken where possible.

Specialist equipment

For those that have been identified as needing specialist equipment, the HSE has taken the view that employers should try to meet those needs where possible.

An approach many of our clients have taken is to provide a budget to help their people purchase home office fundamentals. We’ve helped customers split the cost between themselves and their employers if they’ve wanted to contribute to snazzier products for their homes.

How can I identify who needs help

As stated in the guidance you’ll need to conduct a workstation assessment. Even if the employee has recently had one at their normal place of work, any significant change to working conditions will trigger the need for a new one. There are many ways to efficiently conduct a DSE assessment remotely. Our full range of assessments can be found here.

We have basic online assessments which produce a PDF report for you (details below), to a more comprehensive online assessment with an admin platform to help you quickly and easily manage the process from £11 per person. Contact [email protected] to arrange a demonstration. You may qualify for five free licences to allow you to test out for yourself all the assessment modules.

We suggest that if you have more than 25 members of staff then the more comprehensive management system is the way forward.

This post was originally published on 05.01.2020 by Jo and updated on 18.05.21 by Rachelle Dare.

We’re here to help if you’d like to chat to us about your duty of care. Speak to a member of our team on 0330 332 0880

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