In the 21st century workplace, a lot of employees use a computer. If your staff are sitting at a computer to complete some or all of their duties, you’ll need to carry out a display screen equipment risk assessment.
Health and safety law and risk assessments
Since the 1st of November, 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.
These Regulations outline the employer's duty to examine the health and safety standard, where their employees are working at computer stations and to take any corrective action necessary.
What objectives does this legislation set out for employers?
Under the Regulations, you need to provide employees with a workstation risk assessment, train employees in the use of the workstation and inform them to the hazards of working at that station.
The following steps will help you complete this process:
- Consult the employee (Collect info on what are the main tasks for the employee)
- Observe the employee working (Does the workstation meet DSE Reg requirements?)
- Identify issues and create action plan (What are the issues & how they’ll be addressed)
- Review all changes (Have the issues been resolved, is further action required)
What rest breaks are staff entitled to?
While there are no specific breaks outlined in the Regulations, you should advise staff to mix up their routine or take periodic breaks allowing them to leave their workstation. The following considerations are relevant for rest breaks:
- Rest breaks should be taken before fatigue occurs.
- Regular repositioning or changes of posture should be made.
What about eyesight tests?
If staff normally use a computer for periods greater or equal to an hour and have no other choice but to use a computer, you’ll need to inform these employees that they are entitled to an appropriate eyesight and eye test.
Where the results of the eye test indicate that a certain lens is required for working at a computer station, the employer must pay for the lenses and minimum requirement frames.
There is no specified period between eye tests but it is suggested that these tests should be made available every three years.
The Regulations also refer to keyboards which are not connected to screens. This said, laptops should not be used to work for extensive periods. Where laptops are used for long periods, they should be connected to a separate screen so they can be adjusted.
Template Display Screen Risk Assessment
To help you comply with your health and safety obligations, we’ve prepared a display screen equipment risk assessment template.
Simply download your display screen equipment risk assessment example to see how we can help your business today.
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