FAQ about Display Screen Equipment or DSE

What is classed as display screen equipment or DSE?

The Health & Safety Executive definition is "DSE are devices or equipment that have an alphanumeric or graphic display screen and includes display screens, laptops, touch screens and other similar devices."

The full definition taken from the HSE publication, Work with display screen equipment, is:

The definition of DSE at regulation 1(2)(a) covers both conventional (cathode-ray tube) display screens and other types such as liquid crystal or plasma displays used in flat-panel screens, touchscreens and other emerging technologies. Display screens mainly used to display line drawings, graphs, charts or computer-generated graphics are included, as are screens used in work with television or film pictures. The definition is not limited to typical office situations or computer screens but also covers, for example, non-electronic display systems such as microfiche. DSE used in factories and other non-office workplaces is included, although in some situations such as screens used for process control or closed-circuit television (CCTV), certain requirements may not apply.

More information is available in our online course.

Is a VDU classed as Display Screen Equipment or DSE?

Yes, a VDU is another form of display screen equipment if the operator enters or reads information from it.

What are the display screen or DSE regulations 1992?

DSE or display screen regs are; The health and safety (display screen equipment) regulations 1992, as amended by the health and safety (miscellaneous amendments) regulations 2002.

They apply to anybody who uses DSE or display screen equipment for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour or more at a time. Use DSE in this way more or less daily, and have to transfer information quickly to or from the DSE.

The Regulations were introduced because DSE has become one of the most common kinds of work equipment and the aim is to protect the health of people who work with DSE. The basic requirements of the Regulations are to ensure employers provide:

  • A suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the workstation, including the software in use, trip and electrical hazards from trailing cables and the surrounding environment;

  • Workstation compliance with the specifications detailed in the Regulations;

  • A plan of the work programme to ensure that there are adequate breaks in the work pattern of workers;

  • The provision of free eye sight tests and, if required, spectacles to users of DSE;

  • A suitable programme of training and sufficient information given to all users.

More information is available in our online course.

What are the three main health risks of working with DSE?

  • Physical Problems
    Commonly known as Work Related Upper Limb Disorders or WRULDs associated with display screen equipment are from over or improper use and are caused by poor posture and poorly designed work stations.
    Symptoms include pain in the back, shoulders, neck or arms. Continued use of a keyboard can also affect the wrists, causing pain and stiffness from a condition known as Repetitive Strain Injury or RSI.
  • Visual Problems
    There is no medical evidence that DSE causes deterioration in eye sight, but users may suffer from visual fatigue which results in eye strain, sore eyes and headaches.
    Eye strain is a particular problem for people who spend a large proportion of their working day using DSE. A survey has indicated that up to 90% of DSE users complain of eye fatigue.
  • Psychological Problems
    Psychological problems are generally stress-related. They may have environmental causes, such as noise, heat, humidity or poor lighting, but they are usually due to high-speed working, lack of breaks, poor training and poor workstation design.
    One of the most common problems is the lack of understanding of all or some of the software packages being used.

More information is available in our online course.

Is display screen equipment training mandatory

Display screen equipment training is mandatory under regulation 6 of the DSE regulations 1992. Here is what it says:

Regulation 6, Provision of training

(1) Where a person –

(a) is a user in the undertaking in which he is employed; or

(b) is to become a user in the undertaking in which he is, or is to become, employed,

the employer who carries on the undertaking shall ensure that he is provided with adequate health and safety training in the use of any workstation upon which he may be required to work.

Our online course meets all the training requirements of the regulations.

Other regulations you may be interested in:

CDM Regulations 2015

GDPR and the UK after Brexit

The Provision of Work Equipment Regulations PUWER