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Display Screen Equipment

Health and SafetyThe Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended 2002) [1,2] place specific duties on employers with regard to staff who use display screen equipment (also known as visual display units [VDUs]).

Employees are classed as VDU users if they habitually use a VDU for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour or more at a time and use it in this way more or less daily [2]. Employers have specific obligations to ensure users’ well-being and that the requirements set out in the Regulations are met. The Regulations also apply to laptops and other portable computers; therefore, habitual users of portable computers should also be trained on how to minimise risks.

To comply with Regulations, which cover screens, keyboards, desks, chairs, the work environment and software:

Decide which staff members are covered by the Regulations, i.e. those classed as VDU users.

Provide users with information on Working with VDUs (PDF) and arrange training for them, and any member of staff who will act as a workstation assessor, on how to set up a workstation and use display screen equipment.

Ensure risk assessment of the workstation and environment (e.g. chair, desk, equipment, lighting and surrounding space) and the job being done is carried out, and that problems are corrected. Encourage users to be involved in the risk assessment of their workstations (see Display Screen Equipment Assessment Mar 2012 template (Word).

Ensure that each workstation meets the minimum requirements set out in the Schedule to the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (e.g. adjustable screen, separate tiltable keyboard, sufficient desk space, adjustable chair, adequate lighting) [3].

Provide suitable breaks or changes of activity to avoid visual or musculo-skeletal fatigue.

Provide eye tests specific to display screen equipment use if requested; provide spectacles if required specifically for display screen equipment use.

Ensure that staff contracts include a clause about the correct use of display screen equipment.

Further information on the safe use of Display Screen Equipment is available from the Health and Safety Executive [4] and Healthy Working Lives [5].


Sources of Information

  1. Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended 2002) (www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/2792/contents/made)
  2. The Law on VDUs: An easy guide. Making sure your office complies with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 2002 (as amended in 2002). Health and Safety Executive (2003) (www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg90. (PDF))
  3. Schedule to the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992  (www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/2792/schedules/made)
  4. Working Safely with Display Screen Equipment. Health and Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse)
  5. Display Screen Equipment Works Station Assessment. Healthy Working Lives, Public Health Scotland  (www.healthyworkinglives.scot/resources/publications/Pages/DSE-work-station-assessment.aspx)