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Display Screen Assessments

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 A poorly equipped and arranged workstation is a major contributing factor in the development of many work-related upper limb disorders. There are specific legislative and best practice requirements for the use of display screen equipment.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work, (General Application) Regulations 2007 - Chapter 5 of Part 2 outline the requirements that must be adhered to in relation to Display Screen Equipment.

These regulations are applicable:

If the employee has no choice but to use the VDU to carry out her/his work

If the employee normally uses the VDU for continuous periods of more than one hour

If the VDU is generally used by the employee on a daily basis.

What constitutes a workstation under the Display Screen Equipment Regulation 2007?

‘Workstation’ means an assembly comprising display screen equipment, which may be provided with a keyboard or input device or software, or a combination of the foregoing, determining the operator and machine interface, and includes:

  • a work chair and work desk or work surface
  • any optional accessories and peripherals, and
  • the immediate work environment of the display screen equipment.

Musculoskeletal injuries resulting from poor workplace ergonomics account for 34% of all lost workdays injuries and illnesses (95% of workers' days at work are spent at their desk). A properly set up workstation is shown to increase productivity by over 10%.

The Display Screen Equipment Regulation 2007 means that an employer has a duty to:

  • Carry out an analysis or risk assessment of employee workstations
  • Provide information to employees in relation to measures which have been implemented
  • Provide training to employees in the use of workstations before commencing work with display screen equipment
  • Perform a further analysis or risk assessment where an employee transfers to a new workstation or significant new work equipment, change of equipment or new technology is introduced to an individual’s workstation
  • Ensure that the provision of an appropriate eye and eyesight test is made available to every employee.

There are four stages in the risk assessment process:

  • Initial consultation with the employee
  • Observation of the employee working at the computer workstation
  • Identify the issues that need to be addressed
  • Review the implementation of the action plan.

A person with sufficient training must carry out the risk assessment procedure (and it should be documented).