Computers and workstations

Last updated: 17 Jun 2024

Incorrect use of display screen equipment (DSE) and poorly designed workstations can lead to a number of musculoskeletal conditions, including pain in necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists and hands, as well as fatigue and eye strain. The causes may not always be obvious.

These problems can usually be prevented through good ergonomic design of equipment, the workplace and the job, coupled with the provision of training and information.

Your employer must manage the risks posed by DSE and your workstation wherever you work, regardless of whether that’s exclusively in the workplace, exclusively from home, or if you split your working time between the workplace and working remotely.

Employers’ duties

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 require employers to reduce the health risks associated with DSE work. They apply to workers who use DSE daily, for continuous periods of an hour or more.

Under the regulations, DSE is considered to be most devices with an “alphanumeric or graphic display screen, regardless of the display process involved”. It therefore applies to most devices Prospect members will use for work, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phones.

The regulations place an obligation on employers to assess the risks associated with using the DSE and the workstation, as well as workers’ immediate environment.

The employer must reduce the risks identified in the assessment to the lowest extent reasonably practicable, and organise DSE users’ work so that they can periodically take breaks or change activity.

Additionally, employers must provide DSE users with information and training on the health and safety aspects of working with the equipment.

People who regularly use DSE are entitled to eye and eyesight tests. If tests indicate a need for glasses for DSE work, the employer will have to pay for a basic pair of frames and lenses.

For more information, see our members’ guide – Safely using devices with screens at work, including remote working.