What is a DSE Assessment?

How to make sure your workplace is compliant with the law

Your questions answered – DSE assessment 101

The health, safety and wellbeing of employees should be a top priority for every business.

Sitting in front of a computer for an extended period of time can lead to issues such as poor posture, back pain, neck pain and headaches. A DSE assessment can help reduce the risks of these issues, by ensuring that good practice is always followed.

What does DSE stand for?

DSE stands for Display Screen Equipment. It refers to any device or equipment used in the workplace that features a display screen, including desktops, laptops, touch screens, projector screens, CCTV screens and handheld devices.

What is a DSE assessment?

A DSE assessment looks at the way someone uses a device with a screen, in order to identify risks and hazards that may impact their health and/or wellbeing. Measures can then be taken to ensure the level of risk is as low as possible.

Who needs a DSE assessment?

Any workstation used by a business needs to be DSE assessed. This includes co-working space, remote working spaces and temporary workplaces, as well as the company’s offices.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. Workers who use DSE occasionally, or only for a short amount of time, don’t require a DSE assessment.

Are DSE assessments mandatory?

Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, employers are required to “perform a suitable and significant analysis of those workstations which a) are used for business purposes by users, or b) have been provided by the business and are used for the purposes of undertaking its operations”.

In other words, it is mandatory for all devices used by employees to undergo a DSE assessment.

What happens in a DSE assessment?

A detailed assessment will be carried out of the workstation. If any changes are required, these will usually be made immediately.

It’s not just the display screen itself that needs to be assessed. All elements of the equipment will be checked, including the keyboard, mouse, trackballs and furniture. The wider environment will also be considered, including lighting, reflections, glare, temperature and noise.

How long does a DSE assessment take?

The amount of time it takes to complete a DSE assessment will vary depending on the workspace and the user’s needs. However, a standard DSE assessment usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.

How often should a DSE assessment be carried out?

A DSE assessment should be carried out every time a workstation is set up, when a new employee starts, or if a workstation is significantly changed. If an employee reports pain or discomfort while using their workstation, a DSE assessment should be carried out again.

What are the health risks associated with DSE?

Working with DSE for extended periods can pose a number of health risks, including fatigue, eye strain, upper limb problems, pain and discomfort.

How long should you sit in front of a computer?

Sitting still for too long, especially when looking at a screen, can cause problems. Avoid sitting in front of the computer for too long wherever possible, and take short, frequent breaks. This will give the muscles in your back the chance to relax.

What is the correct way to sit at a computer desk?

To sit correctly at your desk:

  • Sit up straight with your shoulders back
  • Make sure your buttocks are touching the back of the chair
  • Distribute your body weight evenly across both hips
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor

Is it better to look up or down at a monitor?

The computer monitor should be positioned directly in front of the user, and centred so that they don’t need to twist their body or neck to look at the screen. Make sure the monitor is at a comfortable height and the user doesn’t have to tilt their head up or bend their neck down in order to see it. The eyes should look slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen.

How far should you sit from a 27-inch monitor?

The user should sit at least 20 inches (51 cm) from the screen, or an arm’s length. The larger the screen, the more distance is needed.

Should I use a footrest at my desk?

A footrest can help ensure you’re sitting in the correct position at your desk. If you can’t reach to rest your feet flat on the floor when sitting at your desk, you should use a footrest.

Footrests have been shown to boost circulation, reduce the risk of lower back issues and improve posture and comfort levels.

When sitting should your knees be higher than your hips?

When sitting at your workstation, your knees should be bent at a right angle, with your knees at the same height or slightly higher than your hips.

Should you cross your legs when sitting?

Sitting with your legs crossed can lead to poor posture, so you should always try to sit with your legs uncrossed and both feet flat on the floor.

Our top ergonomic office furniture picks

Here at BT Office, we supply and install office furniture throughout the UK. Our aim is to provide comfortable, reliable and practical office furniture solutions that meet our clients’ needs.

Explore our collection of office desks and ergonomic chairs that will keep your office more healthy and your workforce safe, productive and happy.

To find out more about DSE assessments or our ergonomic desk products, please get in touch.

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