here for Health and Safety Executive advice
Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is
considered to be any appliance which provides its user with a display of words,
numbers or graphics, or a combination of all three. Typically it may be a
computer screen (VDU) used for word processing, information storage, graphic
design or a microfiche reader.
A user is an employee who regularly uses
display screen equipment as a significant part of his or her normal work.
A workstation comprises the display screen
equipment with its accessories as well as the immediate work area.
Although DSE users tend to complain of eye or
eyesight problems more often than non-users, there appears to be no agreement
that any harm is suffered. If you experience eyestrain while using your
VDU or microfiche, it may be due to a number of causes such as:
|Insufficient and infrequent rest periods|
|Incorrect positioning of the screen and/or documents|
|Poorly designed work area|
|An uncorrected focussing fault such as long sight,
short sight, astigmatism or presbyopia|
|The eyes not working "as a team"|
These conditions may occur singly or in combination, but
all may be controlled by good design of the working environment and by regular
optometric care. Wearing spectacles, doing eye exercises or changes to
your working arrangements to relieve any discomfort may be recommended.
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Only a small proportion of users will need spectacles
specifically for their DSE work and the majority of these will be what is known
as presbyopic. Presbyopia affects us
all as we get older. As a result, around the age of 40 to 45, people find
they lose the ability to focus on objects that are close up.
Spectacles with single vision, bifocal or multifocal
lenses can all be used successfully for DSE work. Contact lenses are also
suitable, although wearers should ensure that they blink normally.
Presbyopic contact lens wearers may need additional reading glasses.
Whenever possible, your screen should have a
non-reflective surface and should be of the highest resolution. You should
also take care to keep the screen clean and free of unwanted reflections.
Brightness and contrast controls should be set for your own comfort.
Regular maintenance of VDU's is essential. Any unwanted flicker or
movement of the display should be corrected.
Your keyboard, screen and document positions should all be
sufficiently adjustable to be placed for your own comfort. The overall
work range is between 33-100 cm. You should have sufficient space behind
the screen for you to be able to look past it and relax your eyes regularly.
Try to eliminate as much glare as possible from the region
around your screen. This is not always straightforward but as a general
|The office lighting should be set at a level which
allows the documents and the screen to be read easily. Additional lighting,
such as an angle poise lamp, may sometimes be necessary to achieve this.|
|Avoid an uncurtained window directly in front or behind
you in your working position.|
|Any window reflected in the screen surface should be
fitted with blinds or curtains with a matt finish.|
|Walls should be non-reflective|
|Desk surfaces should be non-reflective and neutral in
Your Entitlement as a DSE
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To find out whether your work is covered by DSE
regulations, it is necessary to consult both the Regulations and the Guidance on
the Regulations issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Your employer
is responsible for analysing the workstation to assess and minimise any risks to
the health and safety of the user.
If you are classed as a user by your employer, they must
|A full eye examination free of charge to yourself when
you commence DSE work and at regular intervals thereafter|
|A full eye examination free of charge to yourself if
you are having visual problems which may be due to working with DSE|
|Basic spectacles at no cost to yourself if prescribed
for you under the employer's arrangements and if you need them specifically
for DSE work. The spectacles become specific if they differ optically
from those you need for ordinary use|
|Adequate breaks or changes of activity to reduce
general and visual fatigue.|
|Health and safety training and information relating to
the workstation. Keep you informed about the Regulations, particularly
those relating to eyesight, rest breaks and the Guidance on workstations
minimum requirements and personal assessment of them.|