Display Screen Advice

Prolonged used of display screen devices like computers and laptops has been known to cause ill-effects. Read our guide to steps you can take to minimise such ill-effects.

Legal requirements

Generally, if someone is injured you may need to show that you have met your duty of care. In addition to this, if you are an employer you must comply with more specific health and safety law as well. This includes the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations. These apply where employees (and in some cases volunteers) regularly use DSE as a significant part of their normal work (i.e. daily, generally for continuous periods of an hour or more).Under these regulations you must:
  • Complete regular workstation risk assessments 
  • Implement adequate precautions to reduce any risks
  • Ensure that workstations meet specified standards
  • Allow users to take suitable breaks or change activities
  • Provide eye and eyesight tests on request
  • Provide appropriate information and training

Example hazards

  • Insufficient leg room
  • Lack of space
  • Incorrectly adjusted chairs or display screen equipment
  • Using laptops without additional equipment (separate screen)
  • Long usage periods without breaks
  • Glare and reflections from screens
  • Poor or excessive lighting
  • Broken equipment
  • Screens that are hard to read

Example precautions

  • Desks have enough space
  • Windows have blinds
  • Equipment can be adjusted for user
  • Encourage users to take regular short breaks from screens
  • Provide additional equipment such as screens and keyboards for laptop users
  • Keep equipment in good order
  • Provide footrests
  • Check home workers have appropriate space and equipment for home working

Risk management overview

1. Identify those who regularly use display screen equipment (DSE)

2. Complete specific assessments of workstations provided for users and operators

3. Check precautions you have taken are adequate. If not identify additional ones that are needed and who will be responsible for them

4. Provided eye tests and spectacles if required

5. Ensure users know how to use DSE properly

6. Document your arrangements and responsibilities. Review documents periodically and update as required