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Dene Mitchell


Display Screen Equipment – it’s not just about your computer!

Office worker at computer

DSE or Display Screen Equipment Assessments are (hopefully) a familiar requirement to most of us, and the correlations between long hours spent hunched over a desk and the resultant body aches and back and neck pain is well recognised nowadays. Despite this, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making your DSE assessments into a tick box exercise that gets either filled in a mound of paperwork in a filing cabinet or is dropped into an electronic staff file on your servers never to be referred to again.

Most office workers spend the majority of their working time looking at computer screens, projectors and smartboards, and their smartphones; ensuring that you’re carrying out an appropriate DSE assessment at regular intervals is very important. An interim summary in 2019 on sickness absence and health by HSE reported that musculoskeletal conditions tied for first place with stress when asked about health conditions most affecting staff. As with many health conditions, early intervention is key to stop molehills becoming mountains – we’ve compiled some top tips from our Health & Safety experts to address areas you may not have considered:


  • Follow up! If there are any resulting actions then these should be followed up and acted on in a timely manner. After any adjustments are made, a follow up assessment should be carried out to ensure that the issue is resolved or not, and repeat adjusting and assessing the impact any adjustments you make as required. In some cases, escalation to an Occupational Health specialist may be required.


  • Schedule regular screen breaks. Having staff staring at a screen all day with the only break being when they’re on lunch (where they’re likely looking at their smartphone!) is not sufficient – where possible have screen tasks split up with filing, sorting, or going back to paper and pen in an occasional meeting or two.


  • Encourage staff to get up from their desk and walk around. If it’s not a distraction to others, a simple way to do this could be to supply staff with headsets and encourage them to walk the office as they talk on calls


  • If unsure, seek advice from a competent person (like us!) to assess the situation and suggest next steps. The HSE guidance is to meet additional staff needs so far as reasonably practicable, and we’re here to assist with what’s reasonable and what’s not.

Get in touch today to see how we can support with DSE assessments and training – and don’t forget that our clients receive 30% discount on our e-learning courses!

Our content is correct at the date of publishing, but should not be taken as legal advice, and our articles don’t replace Risk Assessments. Armour will not be held accountable for any legal actions the reader may take.