Like any Health & Safety risk assessment, the DSE Assessment provides a process to identify risks and hazards that might impact the health and wellbeing of the computer ‘user’. It is a statutory requirement for all employers under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.
What to consider
Originally, most DSE assessments were completed as a paper-based exercise but this is very time- consuming so it is logical to use an online service as employee numbers rise. If you are just getting started and need a simple template, the UK Health & Safety Executive offer this free pdf download.
The assessment process provides a systematic review of the user’s equipment (keyboard, input device, display screen, software), furniture (desk, chair, footrest, etc.) and environment (heat, light, noise, air quality). Issues raised are then highlighted, addressed and training given.
Most organisations prepare for their DSE assessment program by creating processes and a product list to address the issues which come to light. Good assessment programs include training and education as part of the process. Online versions will branch off into specific training elements appropriate to the user’s responses (e.g. home worker, pregnant woman, tall person).
Once the standard DSE assessment has been completed, the outcome might include actions such as
- a footrest for a short person
- software training for a new employee
- a screen raiser for a tall person
- physiotherapy for a neck problem
- training for workstation setup
It is essential that all training should make the user aware of
- how to make the necessary adjustments
- what they are trying to achieve (in posture terms), and
why that is important, and
- what ‘good posture’ looks and feels like
There will be occasions when a DSE assessment will raise issues that cannot be resolved by the employer with existing resources and procedures. In such circumstances, an escalated assessment should be commissioned from someone with wider experience of disability, musculoskeletal issues and those outside the dimensional norms.
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