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DSE Assessments for Office Workers: Everything you need to know

What Is A DSE Assessment?

A DSE assessment is an assessment of risks associated with the use of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) such as computers, laptops, tablets, and other display screens at work. It is essential for anyone who uses display screen equipment as part of their job. A DSE assessment analyses how a screen and equipment associated with it is used and assess the risks to the user. These assessments are commonly known as DSE Self-Assessments, Workstation assessments, or Visual Display Unit Assessments.

Why are DSE Assessments Important?

For employers to fulfill their duties and responsibilities, a DSE assessment is important in order to ensure health and safety at the workplace in compliance with the HSE (DSE) 1992 Act.

This DSE workstation assessment and training for office workers is essential for people whose job includes sitting at a desk using computers or laptops, display screens, etc for the majority of their working day.

DSE assessments help employees evaluate their current workstation layout. The assessment looks at a number of things in your workstation proximity such as the keyboard, mouse, display screens, furniture i.e. chair and desk.

Workstations that are not set up correctly can result in musculoskeletal injuries including neck, shoulder, back, and arm pains, fatigue, and eyestrain. So, to maintain performance levels and safeguard the employees’ health and wellbeing, it is extremely important to take a DSE assessment. It is recommended that this be done at least once per year.

By conducting a DSE assessment and educating employees, you can potentially improve the health and well-being of your employees, increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, and minimize injury risk hazards. Once the assessment is completed, an action plan can be developed to avoid any potential future risks.

What constitutes a DSE Assessment?

Wrong sitting postures and the way we use DSE often cause problems. Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is the screen that displays information – this in itself might not give you back pain, but the way you sit at it could do. Computer/laptop workstations or equipment can be connected to neck, shoulder, back, arm pain, leg or foot pain as well as fatigue and eyestrain.

It is not just the display screen that needs to be assessed. The most common display screen equipment that also needs to be considered includes:

  • Screen/ Display monitors
  • Keyboards
  • Mouse
  • Laptops and Tablets
  • iPad
  • Smartphones
  • Trackballs
  • Software
  • Furniture (i.e. chair and desk)
  • Environment around you

The assessment should also cover the general environment: including proper lighting, reflections, ventilation, temperature, humidity and noise. All of these things can impact how the display screen equipment is used and the risks to users.

A DSE user assessment will include:

  • An Analysis of workstations and how to reduce risks (musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace).
  • Addressing risk factors and ensuring risk controls are in place.
  • Appropriate training and relevant information, understanding ergonomics, and office working.
  • Provide eyesight tests or other eye assessments on request.
  • Review each assessment with the change in DSE regulations or when the user requires it.

Who Would Require A DSE Assessment?

If you fall into the following categories, you may need a DSE assessment.

  • You work at a fixed workstation
  • You work from home or are a mobile worker
  • A new workstation is set up or if you change desks regularly (hot-desking)
  • A new employee/user joins the work
  • A change is made to an existing work environment
  • A user complains of existing work conditions, discomfort, back pain, fatigue or eyestrain

Who Carries Out The DSE Assessment?

An initial DSE self-assessment can be undertaken by an employee using a simple DSE Assessment form or software solution. The results of this assessment should then be evaluated and assessed by the individuals that have been trained professionally.

Good and correct training is vital to being able to successfully evaluate an assessment as the DSE assessor needs to be able to identify the risks associated with workstation setup and make recommendations accordingly.

It is also important to effectively communicate the findings of the assessment and present the information to the concerned people who need to take action.

Posture Group’s DSE Assessment Tool

As part of our DSE Training, we offer a free DSE Assessment tool that your employees can complete as part of their training program. The assessment consists of a set of questions and identifies any issues relating to your set up, your posture and how to configure your workstation.

If we experience a potential problem with your workstation, we'll offer you some advice. These findings (issues) are forwarded to the training supervisor who can then easily see incoming reports as to who to prioritize and how to quickly resolve the problems that can contribute to health issues.

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Posture Group is a leading provider of online and face to face DSE workstation assessments, manual handling assessments, pregnant worker assessments and employee pain assessments UK-wide.