The Importance of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessments in the Workplace

In today’s digital age, a significant proportion of the UK workforce relies on display screen equipment (DSE) to carry out their daily tasks. DSE includes devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. While these tools have revolutionised the way we work, they can also pose significant health risks if not used correctly. As an employer, conducting regular DSE assessments is not only a legal requirement but also a crucial step in ensuring the well-being of your employees.

Legal Obligations for DSE Assessments

Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, employers in the UK are required to assess and control the risks associated with DSE use in the workplace. This includes:

  • Conducting a suitable and sufficient analysis of workstations to identify potential risks
  • Ensuring that workstations meet minimum requirements for health and safety
  • Providing information, instruction, and training to employees on the safe use of DSE
  • Offering eye and eyesight tests to employees who regularly use DSE

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, legal action, and reputational damage for employers.

Health Risks Associated with DSE Use

Prolonged or improper use of DSE can lead to a range of health problems, including:

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

Poor workstation setup and prolonged static postures can cause strain on the neck, shoulders, back, arms, and wrists, leading to conditions such as tension neck syndrome, shoulder tendinitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Visual Fatigue and Eye Strain

Staring at a screen for extended periods can cause eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, and dry eyes, particularly if the workstation is not set up correctly or if the user has uncorrected vision problems.

Stress and Mental Health Issues

Poorly designed workstations, high workloads, and lack of breaks can contribute to stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems, which can impact overall well-being and productivity.

By conducting regular DSE assessments, employers can identify and address these risks, helping to prevent the development of work-related health problems and create a safer, more comfortable working environment for their employees.

Benefits of Conducting DSE Assessments

Improved Employee Health and Well-being

DSE assessments help identify and correct ergonomic issues, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and other health problems. By promoting good posture, regular breaks, and proper workstation setup, employers can support the physical and mental well-being of their staff.

Increased Productivity and Engagement

Employees who are comfortable and free from pain are more likely to be productive, engaged, and motivated in their work. By investing in their well-being through DSE assessments, employers can foster a positive work environment and boost overall performance.

Reduced Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Work-related health problems are a significant cause of absenteeism and presenteeism in the UK, with musculoskeletal disorders alone accounting for 30.8 million lost working days in 2020. By identifying and addressing DSE-related risks, employers can help reduce the incidence of these conditions and minimise the associated costs of sickness absence and reduced productivity.

Compliance with Legal Obligations

Conducting DSE assessments demonstrates an employer’s commitment to meeting their legal duties under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. This can help protect the organisation from potential legal action and reputational damage.

Conducting Effective DSE Assessments

To ensure that DSE assessments are effective and compliant with legal requirements, employers should consider the following steps:

Train Assessors

Ensure that the individuals responsible for conducting DSE assessments have the necessary knowledge, skills, and competence to identify and address potential risks. This may involve providing specialist training or engaging the services of an external provider.

Use a Standardised Assessment Tool

Employ a standardised DSE assessment checklist or software to ensure consistency and thoroughness in the assessment process. The HSE provides a free DSE workstation checklist that covers the key areas of risk.

Involve Employees

Encourage active participation from employees in the assessment process, as they are best placed to identify any discomfort or issues with their workstation. Provide opportunities for them to ask questions, raise concerns, and suggest improvements.

Implement Control Measures

Based on the findings of the assessment, implement appropriate control measures to reduce or eliminate identified risks. This may include adjusting workstation setups, providing ergonomic equipment, or offering additional training and support to employees.

Review Regularly

DSE assessments should not be a one-off event. Regularly review and update assessments to ensure that they remain effective and relevant, particularly if there are changes to the workforce, equipment, or working practices.

Partner with Occupational Health Providers

Collaborating with experienced occupational health providers, such as London City Healthcare, can help employers ensure that their DSE assessments are comprehensive, compliant, and effective. Occupational health professionals can provide expert guidance on:

  • Conducting assessments and identifying risks
  • Implementing appropriate control measures
  • Providing employee training and support
  • Managing work-related health conditions

By partnering with occupational health providers, employers can access the specialist knowledge and resources needed to create a safe and healthy working environment for their DSE users.


In an increasingly digital workplace, conducting regular DSE assessments is a vital aspect of ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of employees in the UK. By identifying and addressing the risks associated with display screen equipment use, employers can create a more comfortable, productive, and compliant working environment while also supporting the long-term health of their workforce.

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr. Kalia helps to run the Occupational Medicine provision for London City healthcare and is a company doctor for one of the largest multinational companies based in the UK.

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