Is a DSE assessment a legal requirement?
What do you know about DSE and DSE assessments? Did you know that ‘DSE’ stands for Display Screen Equipment?
Our DSE advisors have noticed that there is little information readily available to support individuals and businesses in understanding DSE assessments and what is legally required, especially when it comes to home workers. One of the things that we are frequently asked is ‘Is a DSE assessment a legal requirement?’. We always recommend that anyone who works with display screen equipment should have a DSE assessment.
DSE assessments examine a variety of factors in a worker’s immediate environment and assist in evaluating existing workstation configurations. These assessments examine keyboards, mice, display screens, furniture (i.e. chair and desk), and the area in which someone works.
It’s critical to understand that completing a DSE assessment isn’t merely a ‘check box’ exercise. Workstations that are cluttered or set up poorly can cause neck, shoulder, back, and arm difficulties, as well as weariness and eyestrain. For this reason, we recommend having a DSE assessment at least once a year.
What is a DSE assessment and what is required?
DSE assessments are put into place to protect screen users under the 1992 DSE Health and Safety regulations. Workers who use display screen technology for an hour or more on a daily basis must complete a DSE examination. Working at a poorly constructed workstation can have a detrimental impact on your health and put you at risk of subsequent difficulties.
Employers must then make reasonable adaptations to the workplace to ensure that the user is working safely and comfortably.
Regulations only apply to employers whose workers regularly use DSE as a significant part of their normal work (daily, for continuous periods of an hour or more). These workers are known as DSE users.
If you as an employer have DSE users, you must:
- analyse workstations to assess and reduce risks;
- make sure controls are in place;
- provide information and training;
- provide eye and eyesight tests on request, and special spectacles if needed;
- review the assessment when the user or DSE changes.
DSE assessments and home working
The rise in home working over the last 2 years has brought many drawbacks. According to research by health and safety experts Arinite, almost a third (37.7%) of musculoskeletal illness cases in 2020 were linked to employment, up from 1.4 percent in 2019.
The growth in musculoskeletal injuries has been connected by Arinite to the large increase in home working. The research explained “Although 41.2% of respondents used a dedicated workroom or office, many aches and pains can still occur if you don’t put the necessary precautions in place.”
According to HSE, workers can maintain a good posture while working at a desk by completing the following:
- adjust your chair to support your lower back
- set the chair height so that your forearms and wrists remain straight when using the keyboard
- ensure your knees are slightly lower than your hips
- keep your feet resting on the floor and don’t cross your legs
- adjust your computer or use a laptop stand so that the top of the screen is at eye level
But Is a DSE assessment a legal requirement?
Aside from the legalities, why are DSE assessments important?
As mentioned above 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.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development’s (CIPD) 2020 Health and Wellbeing at Work report, musculoskeletal injuries are the second most common cause of both short- and long-term absences in the UK.
DSE assessments can assist companies in identifying incorrect DSE use, any risk factors in employee workstations (for example, a chair that does not give adequate back support), and any equipment that employees are missing – all before concerns become issues.
HSE and working safely with display screen equipment
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)”
So, in short, yes DSE assessments are a legal requirement for home workers! The HSE’s website provides further guidance on workstations and assessments here.
If you are confused about any of the regulations or simply want further guidance on what is required by you as an employer or an employee, please contact our friendly team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0161 7458353. We are here to help!
Is a DSE assessment a legal requirement and when should an employer carry one out?
Now that we have identified that a DSE assessment is a legal requirement It’s important to note when it should be carried out. It is recommended to carry out a DSE assessment when:
- a new workstation is put up
- a new employee starts work
- a significant change is made to an employee’s workstation
Controlling the risk
As an employer, you must analyse the dangers of employing DSE equipment as well as any unique needs of individual employees. HSE’s DSE workstation checklist (available here) may be useful.
This document provides practical advice on workstation assessments and is intended to encourage users to participate actively. Users who have been properly instructed can fill out the checklist on their own.
Employees should utilise the results of assessments to determine what needs to be done and to ensure that it is completed.
It’s worth noting if you have fewer than five employees, you are not required to keep track of anything. However, it is beneficial to do so. If you have five or more employees, you must write it down by law.
If not set up appropriately, even the most costly and well-designed workstation might bring problems down the road. If an employee develops chronic problems while working for you and you don’t have a DSE assessment on file, they may be able to submit a grievance.
Because few workplaces remain the same, it’s important to evaluate what you’re doing on a regular basis.
Are Remtek Workplace’s DSE assessments suitable for employees working at home?
Yes! Remtek Workplace’s DSE assessments are designed to work in both home and office settings.
We understand that employees may work from home using non-office equipment, prefer dining room tables and chairs, and have different environmental concerns at home versus at work. This is taken into account during the assessment process, ensuring that your employees receive the advice they require and that you have complete visibility into how they work from home.
Our Head of Ergonomics, Chris Barlow explains “We understand that employers may be unaware of their responsibilities when it comes to DSE and risk assessing their remote employees. That’s where we come in.
We have seen a wide range of home-based workstations including the use of kitchen worktops and ironing boards. With a DSE assessment and some simple recommendations and adjustments, any working environment can be made fit for its purpose. Our trusted ergonomic specialists come with many years experience from the DSA industry and offer 3 assessment types:
Level 1 Standard DSE assessment
Workstation observations and adjustments:
- Musculoskeletal issues/concerns
- Posture guidance
- Suggestions for additional improvements to current workstation setup
Level 2 Escalated DSE assessment
A more advanced assessment than a standard assessment, with:
- Anthropometric measurements taken of the staff member,
- Measurements and analysis of their workstation,
- Client’s working habits and analysis of their tasks are documented
Level 3 Complex DSE assessment
This style of assessment is suitable for a DSE user who:
- Is returning to work following an accident, illness or injury
- Has a condition affecting the ability to work efficiently
- Has a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD)
- Has any pain which impairs their ability to work comfortably
- Is a mobile worker
If you would like more information DSE assessments or would like to book an assessment email me directly at email@example.com.”
Why choose Remtek Workplace for DSE assessments?
It is vital to make employees feel valued and taken care of but more importantly than that under HSE guidelines it is an employer’s responsibility to protect employees from health risks.
There is a range of options available to employers looking to get started with DSE assessments. This is where our professional specialists can help. All of our assessments are face-to-face unless specified by the client (such as if they are shielding)
The assessment will be carried out in an employee’s main work/study environment by one of our assessment team.
All of our team are qualified DSE assessors with many years of experience assessing complex cases through the Disabled Student Allowance. Our extensive product knowledge will ensure that the most suitable solutions for your needs are addressed.
We’re here to guide employers through the process and help you to help your employees.
As part of our Remtek Workplace package we offer:
- One-off DSE workplace assessments
- Ongoing support for your employees provided for a monthly fee based on employee numbers
Discover more about becoming a Remtek Workplace Ergonomic Partner here.
DSE awareness training
We are delighted to share that we now also offer DSE awareness training. Our DSE training helps you work towards compliance with The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 and helps DSE users avoid RSI, headaches, eyestrain, and back problems; all of which are proven to contribute to absenteeism.
Learning outcomes include:
- Learn how to set up your workstation correctly and stop bad habits
- Learn how to use portable devices (included in DSE) correctly
- Prevent ‘DSE Stress’ and become more productive at work as a result of good DSE
Regardless of the nature or size of your business, all employees who spend any time working at a computer should receive Display Screen Equipment training. This course is intended to improve workplace safety and awareness while also assisting with compliance with workplace rules. This DSE training programme guarantees that your staff are aware of how to best care for their health by ensuring that their immediate working environment is as healthy as possible.
For more information on DSE assessment training contact Chris Barlow.
Other notes for employers
Robert Winsloe, Managing Director at Arinite explains: “Creating a suitable at-home work environment is crucial to preventing employees developing physical issues that can have long-term implications.
Although not everyone has a home office, there are always adjustments you can make or adaptations you can add to equipment to create a more supportive set-up.
Even if workers have a dedicated workspace, it doesn’t mean they’re aware of how to operate in a way that protects themselves from aches and pains.
With homeworking likely to continue in the future, employers should consider how to care for their remote staff’s wellbeing as part of their health and safety practices.
Putting precautions in place will prepare businesses for the possibility of remote working remaining commonplace.”
There is a wide range of information available for employers with regards to home working and employee wellbeing. Navigating through all of the information can be overwhelming. We can help!
We partner with businesses across the nation to provide professional DSE assessments, Assistive Technology Training, Disability Awareness Training, DSE compliance training, Disability Inclusion Training, and e-learning solutions. Visit our homepage to find out more.
It’s important that we all play a part in successful health and safety. So when considering ‘Is a DSE assessment a legal requirement?’ consider the bigger picture.
Employee neck, shoulder, back, arm, wrist, and hand pain, as well as fatigue and eye strain, can result from incorrect DSE use or poorly built workstations or workspaces. They can be caused by an inadequate workstation, a lack of space, a lack of training, or a failure to take breaks from working on a display screen.
Make sure your business is compliant and look after your employees with a reliable DSE partner. We’re here to help you get started on your journey. For a FREE DSE assessment contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org using the reference ‘DSEFREEassessment’.