Health and safety must be considered in all aspects of the workplace, no matter if the work is manual or done on computer screens. The introduction of screen protection into law came into effect with the 1992 display screen equipment regulations (1992). Workers who are affected by this legislation are defined as display screen equipment (DSE) users.
Some of the screen equipment is excluded from the regulations, including cash registers, calculators, and equipment with a small data display.
As with many aspects of health and safety, you should carry out the proper risk assessment to develop a strategy for minimising risk to your employee’s health.
What are the risks of prolonged screen work?
The risks of extended screen exposure can impact on a workers eyesight and cause a range of other issues like poor posture and headaches. These and other related issues will not only have an effect on your employee’s health but also the health and productivity of your workplace.
How can you minimise the health risks of working with screen equipment?
In order to minimize the effects of prolonged screen exposure for DSE users, there are a number of steps you as an employer can take.
Incorporate regular screen breaks
Having designated screen breaks that employees are encouraged to take will give them a chance to clear their head and reset. Whilst there is no legal guidance on when to take breaks, you should strive to have your employees take them short and often as appose to long breaks over extended periods of time.
One way workers can take screen breaks without breaks in productivity is to take the opportunity to perform other roles within their jobs. Many offices will have opportunities for employees to make phone calls, attend meetings and perform some paper work.
Use break monitoring software
To help encourage employees to take screen breaks, installing some monitoring software on the computer may help remind them. It is worth noting that this does not alieve you of your responsibility to put in place some kind of screen break plan for employees.
Provide an eye test when requested
You as an employer must provide an eye test to an employee upon request. This will help keep your DSE workers healthy and productive at their work stations. However employers only have to provide glasses if they are prescribed for the distance the screen is viewed at.
Seek out training on display screen issues
As part of developing good health and safety in the workplace, employers should ensure they, or the designated member of staff is well trained. Fortifying your current practices with in depth training courses on how to manage DSE workers will help your company reduce the risks to your employees.