DSE risk assessment example

DSE risk assessment example

A DSE (display screen equipment) assessment is a risk assessment of a workstation, that involves examining an entire workstation, the job being done, and any special requirements of a member of staff. It is a legal requirement under the health and safety regulations 1992 that employers carry out an assessment for workers who use DSE for one hour or more per day.

DSE is not limited to computers. A device or piece of equipment with a display screen is referred to as display screen equipment (DSE), and it frequently refers to a computer screen. DSE, however, encompasses both traditional display panels and those seen in laptops, touch screens, and other comparable hardware.

Any screen that shows information is considered display screen equipment. It might be a graphical or alphanumeric display.

Once a DSE assessment has been carried out and risks are identified, steps should be taken to reduce them.

Why might someone need a DSE risk assessment?

A workstation or DSE assessment is a legal requirement for all DSE users to ensure that businesses comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992.

Investing in DSE assessments protects the wellbeing of employees, reducing the impact of WRULD’s, and RSI development, thereby increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism.

Anyone with a diagnosis of a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition or disability would benefit from a workplace needs assessment to put in place strategies and reasonable adjustments in the workplace. Here at Remtek we assess across all types of disability and amongst others our clients have dyslexia, dyspraxia, AD(H)D, autism, depression, anxiety, physical, visual, hearing and other unseen disabilities.

Not everyone has an official diagnosis, so we do also assess individuals who do not have an official diagnosis of one of the conditions above, but are experiencing difficulties in the workplace that are a result of a disability

Examples of DSE

Types of DSE include:

  • Computers
  • Smartphones
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Handheld devices
  • TV screens
  • CCTV screens
  • Projection screens
  • Interactive whiteboards

Is a DSE risk assessment a legal requirement?

In a previous article; ‘Is a DSE assessment a legal requirement?’ we explored what is expected from employers and how they can adhere to their legal responsibilities as outlined by HSE.

HSE explains 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 continuous periods of an hour or more. 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.

The law applies if users are, for example:

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

DSE assessments are also a legal requirement for home workers! The HSE’s website provides further guidance on workstations and assessments here.

Legislation explains:

2.— (1) Every employer shall perform a suitable and sufficient analysis of those workstations which–

(Regardless of who has provided them) are used for the purposes of his undertaking by users; or

have been provided by him and are used for the purposes of his undertaking by operators,

for the purpose of assessing the health and safety risks to which those persons are exposed in consequence of that use.

Taken from The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 Analysis of workstations

DSE risk assessment

Why are DSE risk assessments so important?

Employees who misuse DSE or improperly set up their workstations may endure musculoskeletal pain, such as back, neck, shoulder, arm, and wrist pain, as well as digital eye strain and weariness. As previously mentioned, protecting the wellbeing of employees through DSE assessments, reduces the impact of WRULD’s, and RSI development, thereby increasing productivity and minimising absenteeism.

DSE assessments can assist companies in identifying incorrect DSE use, any risk factors in employee workstations, and any equipment that employees are missing – all before concerns become issues.

For those who employ many users of DSE, and for more guidance on DSE requirements visit HSE’s ‘a brief guide: working with display screen equipment (DSE)’ here.

HSE’s checklist is a great place to start as shown below. It’s worth noting, the checklist only covers the workstation and work environment. You also need to make sure that risks from other aspects of the work are avoided, e.g. by giving users health and safety training, and providing for breaks or changes of activity.

DSE Assessment: Desk setup

Display Screens

Are the characters clear and readable?

  • Make sure the screen is clean and cleaning materials are made available.
  • Check that text and background colours work well together.

Is the text size comfortable to read?

  • Software settings may need adjusting to change text size.

Is the image stable, i.e. free of flicker?

  • Try using difference screen colours to reduce flicker, e.g. darker background and lighter text, increase refresh rate of monitor setting.
  • If problem persists, contact your IT support.

Is the screen’s specification suitable for it’s intended use?

  • For example, intensive graphic work or work requiring fine attention to small details may require large display screens.

Are the brightness and /or contrast

  • Separate adjustment controls are not essential, provided the user can read the screen easily at all times.

Does the screen swivel and tilt?

  • Swivel and tilt need not be built in; you can add a swivel and tilt mechanism.
  • However, you may need to replace the screen if:
  • Swivel/tilt is absent or unsatisfactory
  • Work is intensive; and/or
  • The user has problems getting the screen to a comfortable position.

The height of the screen should be roughly at eye level. A monitor stand may be required. If using an LCD screen, ensure it is adjustable in height, alternatively use a monitor stand.

Is the screen free from glare and reflections?

  • Use a mirror to locate the source of the reflections.
  • You might need to move the screen or even the desk and/or shield the screen from the source of the reflections.
  • Screens that use dark characters on a light background are less prone to glare and reflections.

Check that curtains/blinds are adequate and in good working order.

  • If these measures do not work, consider anti-glare screen filters as a last resort and seek specialist help.


Is the keyboard separate from the screen?

  • This is a requirement, unless the task makes it impracticable (e.g. where there is a need to use a portable computer).

Does the keyboard tilt?

  • Tilt need not be built in

Is it possible to find a comfortable keying position?

  • Try pushing the display screen further back to create more room for the keyboard, hands and wrists. Keep elbows close to the body, do not overstretch the arms.
  • Users of thick, raised keyboards may need a wrist rest.
  • Users may find the use of a compact mini-keyboard more comfortable.

Does the user have good keyboard technique?

  • Training can be used to prevent: –
  • hands bent up at wrist
  • hitting the keys too hard
  • overstretching the fingers

Are the characters on the keys easily readable?

  • Keyboards should be kept clean. If characters still cannot be read, the keyboard may need modifying or replacing.
  • Use a keyboard with a matt finish to reduce glare and/or reflection.

Mouse, Trackball etc

Is the device suitable for the tasks it is used for?

  • If the user is having problems, try a different device. The mouse and trackball are general-purpose devices suitable for many tasks, and available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
  • Alternative devices such as touch screens may be better for some tasks.
  • Check the device has been set to suit the user (for right or left hand user).

Is the device positioned close to the user?

  • Most devices are best placed as close as possible e.g. right beside the keyboard.
  • Training may be needed to:
  • prevent
  • arm overreaching
  • tell users not to leave their hand on the device when it is not being used
  • encourage a relaxed arm and straight wrist.

Is there support for the device user’s wrist and forearm?

  • Support can be gained from, for example, the desk surface. If not, a separate supporting device (gel filled) may help.
  • The user should be able to find a comfortable working position with the device.

Does the device work smoothly at a speed that suits the user?

  • Check if cleaning is required (e.g. of mouse ball and rollers).
  • Check the work surface is suitable. A mouse mat may be needed.

Can the user easily adjust software settings for speed and accuracy of pointer?

  • Users may need training in how to adjust device settings.


Is the software suitable for the task?

  • Software should help the user carry out the task, minimise stress and be user-friendly.
  • Check users have had appropriate training in using the software.
  • Software should respond quickly and clearly to user input, with adequate feedback, such as clear messages.


Is the work surface large enough for all the necessary equipment, etc?

  • Create more room by moving printer, reference materials etc elsewhere.
  • Use multilevel trays for papers/documents. If necessary, consider providing new papers etc? power and telecom sockets, so equipment can be moved.
  • There should be some scope for flexible rearrangement.

Can the user comfortably reach all the equipment and papers they need to use?

  • Rearrange equipment, papers etc to bring frequently used things within easy reach.
  • A document holder may be needed, positioned to minimise uncomfortable head and eye movements.

Are the surfaces free from glare and reflection?

  • Consider mats or blotters to reduce reflections or glare.

Is the chair stable & suitable for the user?

  • Does the chair have a working:
  • seat back height and tilt adjustment?
  • Seat height adjustment?
  • Swivel mechanism?
  • Castors or glides?

The chair may need repairing or replacing if the user is uncomfortable, or the adjustment mechanisms are faulty.

Is the chair adjusted correctly?

  • The user must be familiar with the chair adjustments.
  • Adjust the chair height to sit with elbows at approx. 90º & 2cm above the desk when touching the G & H keys.
  • The user should be able to carry out their work sitting comfortably.
  • Consider training the user in how to adopt suitable postures while working.
  • The arms of chairs can stop the user getting close enough to use the equipment comfortably. Consider chairs without armrests or alternatively, adjustable armrests.
  • Move any obstructions from under the desk.

Is the lower back supported by the chair’s backrest?

  • The user should have a straight back, supported at all times by the chair, with relaxed shoulders.

Are forearms horizontal and eyes at roughly the same height as the top of the screen?

  • Adjust the chair height to get the user’s arms in the right position; adjust the monitor height/tilt if necessary.


Is there enough room to change position and vary movement?

  • Space is needed to move, stretch and fidget.
  • Consider reorganising the workspace layout and check for obstructions.
  • Cables should be tidy and not a trip or snag hazard.

Is the lighting suitable, e.g. not too bright or too dim to work comfortably?

  • Users should be able to control light levels, e.g. by adjusting window blinds or light switches.
  • Consider shading or repositioning light sources or providing local lighting, e.g. desk lamps ( but make sure lights don’t cause glare by reflecting off walls or other surfaces).

Does the air feel comfortable?

  • VDUs and other equipment may dry the air. Green plants may help to increase moisture levels in the air.
  • Circulate fresh air if possible.
  • As a last resort, if discomfort is severe, consider a humidifier.

Are levels of heat comfortable?

Can heating be better controlled?

  • More ventilation or air-conditioning may be required if there is a lot of electronic equipment in the room. Or, can users be moved away from the heat source?

Are levels of noise comfortable?

  • Consider moving sources of noise, e.g. printers, away from the user. If not, consider soundproofing.


Have you carried out a user check (visual inspection) of the visually accessible parts of the equipment and it’s cable, plug and extension cable?

Carry out a user check when the equipment has been relocated.

Any faults or significant wear and tear, must be reported and repaired as soon as possible (contact your local computing support). Do not use any equipment if defective.

Implementing a Risk Assessment

Employers can use documentation from HSE while doing their own DSE risk assessments, following the template above. As an employer you might have your own DSE policy and qualified assessors as well.

A DSE Risk Assessment comprises a workstation check list for every component. Although there are many different checklists available, it is important to make sure that they cover every area of the workstation and environment.

An exercise where boxes are checked off should not be a DSE risk assessment. Workstations that are not properly set up might cause pain in the back, neck, shoulder, and arms. Likewise, eye strain and exhaustion. If you need support with your DSE assessments, further or advice or guidance on HSE requirements contact our team of DSE professionals today.

Following a DSE Assessment

Following completion of a DSE Risk Assessment, the following actions might be required:

  • a footstool
  • a monitor stand
  • standing desk
  • ergonomic chair
  • the monitor(s) in the centre should be moved
  • a desk for documents above the keyboard

For information on any of the above products check out our range today including ‘popular home working products’.

If they an individual is still unable to relax or has medical requirements, a more thorough ergonomic assessment should be performed.

Get started with your DSE assessment today

For a FREE DSE assessment contact us at ergo@remtek-online.co.uk using the reference ‘DSEFREEassessment’. Alternatively, if you have an ergonomics question or would like to book a FREE consultation with one of our experts call us today on 0161 7458353.

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