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Identification of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Risk Factors


Display screen equipment (DSE) includes equipment that has an alphanumeric or graphic display screen such as desktop computers, laptops, notebooks, smart phones and touch screen devices (such as tablet computers). 

Why is DSE a problem?

The use of computer equipment is often blamed (usually wrongly) for a wide range of health problems.  Frequent and prolonged use of DSE has been associated with upper limb disorders (ULDs) (neck, shoulder, arm, wrist, hand pain including RSI), back pain, eye discomfort (eg. headaches, tired eyes) and fatigue.  Where problems do occur, they are generally caused by the way the equipment is used rather than the equipment itself (eg. poorly adjusted workstation).  It is worth noting that there is no evidence that DSE use causes disease or permanent damage to the eyes. 

DSE keyboard

DSE regulations

  • The DSE regulations require employers to minimise the risks of DSE work by ensuring that workplaces and jobs are well designed.
  • The regulations apply where staff habitually use DSE as a significant part of their normal work (including employees working at home or mobile working). 
  • Employers are required to analyse workstations, assess and reduce risks. A workstation is defined in the regulations as including the screen, keyboard, mouse or other input device, desk, chair and the immediate work environment. 

Workstations should meet the minimum requirements laid down in the Schedule to the DSE guidance on regulations

Common risk factors for working with DSE - click here

Further information can be accessed through the following sources:

HSE DSE webpages

Work with Display Screen Equipment: Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002

The law on VDUs: An easy guide: Making sure that your office complies with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended in 2002

Advice on mobile working (BT) 

Sources of information on MSDs

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