Ergonomics and DSE

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When it comes to keeping your employees safe at work, the topic of ergonomics and DSE isn’t usually the first thing that springs to mind. Many businesses overlook the importance of ergonomics and human factors concerned with the individual’s work station, and fail to realise how poor practices can affect an individual’s physical and even mental health. Not only this, but it can also dramatically reduce the productivity of your workforce, especially those working for long periods of time at their work station.

As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks posed with working at their desks, which involves the display screen equipment (DSE), their office furniture and the surrounding environment. You can easily boost performance, reduce the number of sick days and maintain a happy workforce, by turning your focus to ergonomics.

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics concerns the factors which impact the health, wellbeing and productivity of people who work in an office environment. It involves the process of designing and arranging workplaces, furniture, equipment and systems so that they fit the people who are using them.

There should be no one-size-fits-all approach adopted in the workplace. Poorly designed offices, lack of ergonomic education and incorrect use of DSE (display screen equipment) can lead to the onset of musculoskeletal issues in staff, such as pain in the neck, back, shoulders, and wrists. In order to comply with HSE regulations, an assessment of the user’s workstation, equipment and environment needs to be carried out to ensure that it is fit for the individual.

What is a DSE assessment?

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is any device or equipment with a screen that provides a role in displaying information, the main unit in the office being the computer. A DSE assessment is an evaluation of the way that this technology is used, ensuring that the equipment is set up correctly and good practice is applied.

Types of common office DSE equipment include:

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones (iPhone or Android)
  • Television screens
  • Handheld devices
  • CCTV screens
  • Projection screens
  • Interactive whiteboards

At David Barber Occupational Health, we can carry out professional DSE assessments primarily to ensure that your employee’s work stations are satisfactory as per DSE regulations. Following this assessment, if something requires specialist review or any issues are highlighted, we will then progress this to ensure your business and employees are protected.

Does my workplace need a DSE assessment?

As an employer, you must protect your workers from the health risks of working with display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets, handhelds and smartphones. According to the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 legislation, you need to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of workstations used in the workplace in order to reduce the risk of ill health.

This law applies if any of the following applies to your business and its employees:

  • fixed workstation
  • mobile workers
  • home workers
  • hot-desking

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to ‘DSE workers’ who use DSE on a daily basis, for an hour or more at a time. The regulations don’t apply to workers who use DSE infrequently or only use it for a very short time in their job role.

Benefits of taking ergonomics seriously in the workplace

As well as ensuring your business meets the requirements of the Government regulations, turning your focus onto ergonomics can actually benefit your business in numerous ways. This includes:

  • Improving the productivity of staff
  • Reducing sickness absence
  • Improving the health, wellbeing and morale of employees
  • Minimising the likelihood of compensation claims for MSKs
  • Reduction in administration costs
  • Encouraging an improved safety culture
  • Motivating positive behaviour

How David Barber Occupational Health can help

If you would like to find out more about ergonomics or DSE assessments, get in touch with our team. We’re here to answer any questions that you may have, find out costs and book you in at a time that suits you best.

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