What are the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992?

We’ve all heard the dangers associated with too much screen time, but did you know that if you have employees who regularly use computers as part of their job, you're obliged to comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, to protect your employees from these associated risks?

First things first, what are the Display Screen Equipment Regulations? The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 place obligations on employers to protect workers from health risks associated with DSE, such as back pain, wrist strain, and eye strain.


Read on to find out why this is important for employers and how DSE training can ensure your workplace environment is safe and compliant.

Why are the Display Screen Regulations Important?

Display screen equipment (DSE), such as PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, can pose significant health risks to your employees, and as such, employers need to take steps to ensure this risk is minimised. 

For workers who use display screen equipment continuously for an hour or more each day, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply. Such workers are referred to as DSE users.

There is no regulation for occasional users however, such as delivery drivers requiring DSE for customer signatures, as it is the duration of the time spent at a DSE workstation that puts users at risk of health issues.


What are the main health issues associated with display screen use?

Using DSE incorrectly or working in an unsuitable workstation or environment can cause neck, shoulder, back, arm, wrist, and hand pain, as well as fatigue and eye strain.

1. Visual Fatigue and Eye Strain

We've all experienced it, long spells staring at your display screen can lead to tired eyes, discomfort, temporary short-sightedness, and headaches. This is because the blue light emitted by digital devices can reach the retina, the lining of the back of the eye, and research has shown that blue light can damage the light-sensitive cells in the retina.

2. Musculoskeletal Disorders

We’ve all been there, a bad desk chair, the wrong screen height - all of these factors can lead to musculoskeletal disorders at work such as the neck, shoulder, back, arm, and wrist pain. 


What are the employers' responsibilities according to the display screen regulations 1992?

Under the Display Screen Regulations 1992, employers must by law:

1. Carry Out a DSE Workstation Assessment

The employer must conduct a workstation assessment if workers use display screen equipment (DSE) continuously for an hour or more as part of their normal work. 

Employers should look at the workstation set up i.e. equipment, chairs, etc., the job being done, and if there are any special requirements of a staff member i.e. a DSE user with a disability.

It is also necessary for employers to perform an assessment whenever a new workstation is installed, a new user begins work, an existing workstation is changed or used differently or users complain of pain or discomfort.


2. Reduce Risks

Employers must take every effort to reduce the risks associated with DSE, including making sure workers take breaks from DSE work or do something different to give their employees a respite from continuous screen time.


3. Provide an Eye Test If a Worker Asks for One

The law says that if employees request an eye test, employers must arrange one for them, and provide glasses if needed for DSE. This is because long spells staring at your display screen can lead to tired eyes, discomfort, temporary short-sightedness, and headaches. However, employees and employers can help their eyes by choosing the correct screen position, making sure lighting conditions are suitable, and taking periodic breaks from screen work.


4. Provide Training and Information

It is the employers' responsibility to provide health and safety information and training to users of display screen equipment (DSE). To make sure users are aware of the risks involved with DSE work, safe working practices should be taught. They should include:

  • good posture
  • adjusting chairs and other furniture
  • arranging desk space
  • adjusting screens and lighting to avoid reflections and glare
  • breaks and changes of activity
  • risk assessments
  • how to report problems 

Users should also be informed about the general arrangements employers have made for health and safety in their DSE work, as well as how to apply for an eye test.

DSE work is classified as safe with adequate training and by understanding how to set up a workstation correctly so that it does not pose a long-term threat to the individual. The objective of a DSE training course is to provide people with this knowledge, help them carry out a DSE assessment for themselves and help them prevent any long-term musculoskeletal problems.


How often should a DSE assessment be carried out?

Every time a workstation is set up, when a new employee begins working or when there is a significant change made to the employee's workstation set-up, a DSE assessment should be performed. 

Also, it is important to remember that if employees begin to complain of discomfort or physical pain after working at their workstation, the DSE assessment should be repeated.


HSE Docs Online DSE Training


At HSE Docs, we are expert providers of online Digital Screen Equipment (DSE) Training for the workplace, and prices start from as little as £4.99 making it a cost-effective way of ensuring all of your employees are suitably trained and have the certification to prove it. 

Our online DSE course covers the following elements and topics:

  • Correct posture which increases workstation felicity, dampens muscle tension, and helps prevent strains and injuries.
  • Eye strain prevention, covering topics such as screen to eye distance, correct display screen settings, the effects of screen glare, and how to reduce it.
  • Workstation lighting and the effects direct sunlight can cause if it creates backlight or high contrast areas within a workspace environment.
  • DSE assessment for workstation risks and putting control measures in place.
  • Back, neck, upper and lower limb disorders that can be caused by incorrect posture and seating arrangements.
  • Having a workstation that is well designed and correctly laid out.


If you have any questions regarding our DSE training courses, please don’t hesitate to get in touch here. You can also give us a call on 0800 933 61 61.