Health and Safety: Display Screen Equipment

employee sitting at computer screen

by Moira Grassick, COO at Peninsula Ireland

In this day and age, laptops and phones are practically essential items when it comes to our working lives.

And while it may seem completely normal for your staff to sit at a computer from 9 to 5, you still need to conduct a display screen equipment risk assessment for health & safety reasons.

Risk assessments and health and safety legislation in Ireland

Since November 1st, 2007, the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations, as part of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 299 of 2007), have been in operation.

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The DSE regulations state that it’s an employer’s duty to examine the health & safety standard ─ where their employees are working at computer stations, etc. ─ and to implement the necessary actions to address risks or concerns.

Free download: Display screen risk assessment

How does the legislation impact employers?

Under the DSE regulations, you need to provide employees with a workstation risk assessment, train employees in the use of the workstation, and inform them of the hazards of working at that station.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Consult the employee: Collect info on the main tasks for the employee.
  • Observe the employee working: Does the workstation meet DSE reg requirements.
  • Identify issues and create an action plan: What are the issues and how they will be addressed.
  • Review all changes: Have the issues been resolved; is further action required.

Offer eyesight tests

If your employees use a computer for long periods or equal to an hour and have no other choice but to use a computer, you’ll need to inform these employees that they’re entitled to an appropriate eyesight and eye test.

If the results of the eye test indicate that a certain lens is required for working at a computer, you must cover the cost for the lenses and minimum requirement frames. There’s no specified period between eye tests, but they should be made available every three years.

Use of laptops

These DSE regulations refer to keyboards that are not connected to screens, e.g., laptops.

The regulations set out that laptops shouldn’t be used for extensive periods. Where laptops are used for long periods, they should be connected to a separate screen so they can be adjusted.

While this may seem like a simple measure, the addition of a separate, larger screen can greatly reduce damage to eyesight and allow staff to work on with more comfort.