Display Screen Equipment – Your Questions

Last reviewed on 21/11/2012 13:28

Question: My secretary has had to see a physiotherapist because of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). Is her work station to blame?

A: The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (1992) require employers to ensure that any regular DSE user has a suitable and sufficient assessment of their work station carried out and that daily work routines are planned, encompassing adequate breaks or changes of activity, to reduce their workload at that equipment.

To prevent other staff developing aches, pains or even RSI, you need to make sure that they:

  • adjust their chair and display screen to find a comfortable working position
  • use good keyboard and mouse techniques
  • do not work for excessive periods of time in the same position
  • take adequate breaks by carrying out other activities away from the computer.

Early management intervention and treatment of an individual's symptoms, both physical and psychological, can reduce the impact, onset and duration of RSI, thus avoiding permanent long-term damage to the individual's health.

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Question: I work with computers. Should my employer pay for me to have an eyesight test?

A: The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (1992) cover the use of computers at work.

Display screen users are not obliged to take an eyesight test, but employers must provide an appropriate test free of charge to users who request one. They should make users aware of the arrangements for requesting an eye test.

It should include a test of vision, an examination of the eye and should take account of the nature of the users’ work, including the distance at which the screen is viewed. It should be carried out by a registered optician, or a registered medical practitioner with suitable qualifications. The employer is free to specify who should carry out the test.

Many companies have policies on eyesight tests, so check with your personnel, health and safety, occupational health or union safety representatives.

Basic glasses needed specifically for display screen work should be paid for by the employer. Alternatively, the employer can contribute the same cost to a more expensive pair (e.g. with designer frames). However, very few people (10%) ever need glasses specifically to work with computer screens.

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