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Display Screen Assessments for Laptops

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Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is sometimes referred to as Visual Display Units (VDU) or Computer Workstations and includes laptops, touch-screens and other similar devices that incorporate a display screen.

Laptop computers can present particular problems due to small screens, keyboards and inbuilt pointing devices (e.g. a small portable mouse or touchpad). Prolonged use of laptops should be avoided.

Assessment checklist
A computer screen must be clean and cleaning materials should be available to staff because a monitor acts as a magnet for dust, which is why it must be cleaned weekly. Also dust and dirt can prevent proper air flow and may even stop the computer fan from working.

It is imperative to use a mild cleaning method because monitors are made with a type of plastic that can be easily scratched by rough cleaning or harsh chemicals.  (Monitor must be off when cleaning).  Screen wipes are probably the best or clean water – screen must be dry before switching on.  Dirt, fingerprints and dust all contribute to dirt on a computer screen. A computer could simply pack up if it is not cleaned. 

A computer technician who opens a faulty computer only to discover a thick layer of dust will tell you that heat is the biggest reason of component failure.   The frequency of computer cleaning depends on several factors, such as how often the computer is used and in what environment (office, construction, industry, home etc).

Appropriate lighting
The text and background colours of a screen should work well together. The height of the screen should be approximately at eye level.  Also the screen should be away from glare and reflections.  If a computer is in a position of natural daylight and the sun causes difficult reading then blinds must be available and in good working order.

Correct lighting arrangements are essential if eye fatigue is to be avoided. Suitable back ground lighting is required for VDU work to provide an appropriate contrast between the screen and the background environment and to avoid problems of reflection and glare. The light from a table lamp must not be allowed to shine or reflect on the VDU or the immediate surrounding area.

Eye problems are usually the result of visual fatigue or glare from bright windows or strong light sources, light reflecting off the display screen or poor display screen contrast.

Sitting at a computer
Is the chair adjustable in height? Backrest and seat tilt is crucial in order to have a suitable chair because by not sitting with the correct posture; it is easy for a person to develop back pain, neck pain, knee pains, and a tingling sensation of the hands and fingers.  Therefore, a person working at a computer must know exactly where all the adjustment controls are on their chair and how to operate them effectively.