Computer laptops, touch screens, computer workstations and other display devices are all part of what is known as Display Screen Equipment (DSE). DSE was formerly known as VDU’s i.e Visual Display Units. Working with this kind of equipment can be associated with eyestrain, arm pain, shoulder pain and fatigue. Basically, these aches and pains are concentrated in the upper limb area. As DSE is practically used everywhere, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 is there to protect workers. The employer must take appropriate steps to ensure workstations are operated according to these regulations. The employer must manage the work so that the employee takes periodic breaks from the workstation and changes in activity so to reduce looking at the screen. There should be training in the use of the workstation and eyesight tests offered. When starting or organization a new work station, a risk assessment should be make by a health and safety officer or in-house competent person. Hazards must be identified regarding the equipment used, the software used, the workstation furniture and access areas and lighting.
If work stations are set up properly DSE related aches and pains cease to be a real problem. Areas to be managed include the display screen, the keyboard, the desk or work area, the chair, lighting, glare, noise, heat, radiation and humidity. The worker must be able to adjust the display screen for his or her comfort. It must swivel and tilt easily. The brightness and contrast of the characters on the screen must be easily adjustable. The keyboard should be positioned in such a way that it supports the hands and arms. The work surface should be sufficiently large and have a low reflective surface. The work surface should be large enough to arrange the screen, keyboard and documents in a comfortable position for the worker. The work chair should have a tiltable back support and have an adjustable height. Postural problems may be overcome by simply adjusting one’s chair.
The lighting should be satisfactory and provide an appropriate contrast between the screen and background environment. Reflections and glare on the display screen should be minimized. Glare from windows and other light sources should not reflect onto the work screen. Equipment in the workspace should not generate excessive heat or emit excessive noise. If the user experiences visual difficulties which may reasonably be considered to be caused by work on display screen equipment, the employer should ensure the employee is offered appropriate eye sight tests. Anti-glare screens should be provided on DSE, these can greatly reduce glare. Fatigue and stress may be alleviated by proper training in the use of software. The user should have adequate control over their work role so that they do not get overly stressed. Looking at a computer screen for too long is unproductive, and rarely enhances work to be completed to tight deadlines. Natural breaks or pauses must occur if the work is to be completed without undue anxiety to the worker.
Display Screen Equipment – DSE