Display Screen Equipment (DSE) i.e computer workstations, laptops and other VDU’s can sometimes be associated with neck, shoulder, wrist and arm pain. VDU’s can also cause eyestrain and fatigue. In offices and places of work the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 give advice and recommendations on how to use workstations in a way that helps controls the risk to the body and health. Display screen occupations include word processing workers, data imputers, typists, journalists, financial dealers, librarians and web analysts. There are other occupations that involve working with visual display equipment that is a bit different from the normal visual display unit, these include air traffic controllers and security room operatives. Although there may be different kinds of screens used, there is still the risk of strain to the body. Emplyers should ensure that the regulations are adhered to and that the employees understand them.
For the display screen itself the characters should be well-defined and clearly formed. The image on the screen should be stable with no flickering or other forms of instability. The brightness and contrast should be easily controlled by the operator and the screen should swivel and tilt easily. If possible, the screen should be free of reflective glare that could cause discomfort. The keyboard should be tiltable so to avoid fatigue to the arms and hands. The work surface that the computer or laptop is on should be sufficiently large with a low reflective surface. One should be able to arrange their documents and related equipment comfortably around the VDU. The work chair should be stable and allow the user to adjust it with ease. The back of the seat should be adjustable both in tilt and height.
Suitable lighting is necessary for the working environment; there should be appropriate lighting between the background and the screen environment. Workstations should be designed so that sources of light from windows and other openings don’t cause glare on the screen. There should not be continuous disturbing noise from the workstation, for example from a printer nearby. There should not be excessive heat or radiation coming from parts of the workstation. An adequate level of humidity should be established.
One of the main concerns with any workstation is the eyes. The regulations require employers to provide users with eye tests if they so require. Special corrective appliances (ie glasses) should be provided by the employer where it meets the requirements of the DSE regulations in the use of the DSE equipment.