More people are working from home than ever before due to COVID-19, many for the first time in their careers. Employers have been forced to shift from office-based working to managing remote teams with little notice or planning. Have you implemented appropriate work safety measures for the operation of display screen equipment (DSE) outside the office?
Employers are legally required to conduct workstation assessments in the workplace and many chose to include this in their onboarding process when a new member of staff enters the team. But does your organisation have systems in place to conduct assessments beyond those offered to new employees? Do you know when assessments must be conducted and how to carry them out? What are your responsibilities for people working from home?
In this guide, our health and safety experts will review employee obligations under the law concerning display screen equipment and provide practical advice on how you can ensure compliance.
Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, if your employees use display screen equipment — also called visual display units (VDUs) — daily and for periods of one hour or more at a time, employers are required to conduct a workstation assessment. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stipulates that employers must complete an assessment when:
If you’re uncertain of your obligations under the law, contact us for a free 15-minute consultation. Howlett Health and Safety has over 30 years of experience providing occupational health and safety services to businesses across a wide range of sectors.
If your employees use a workstation of DSE that is incorrectly set up, they may suffer from:
According to the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance, an assessment should consider:
If you have people working from home on a long-term basis, your responsibilities as an employer remain the same as if they were working on-site — you must do whatever is reasonably practicable to protect their health, safety and welfare.
For employees working remotely from home long-term, an employer should provide everything the individual needs to conduct their own display screen equipment assessment. For those working from home temporarily, a DSE assessment is not strictly necessary. However, it is advisable to play it safe and err on the side of caution. Especially if the duration of homeworking is hard to predict, as under the current circumstance with the ever-evolving coronavirus pandemic.
Employers should provide information, advice and support to help remote workers complete their own assessment. The HSE has created a “workstation checklist” to help home workers set up their DSE safely.
If your homeworkers are using laptops for long periods, it may be more difficult for them to adopt a healthy posture which could lead to health problems and discomfort. The NHS recommends the following advice for working on laptops:
Once a DSE assessment has been conducted, the employer must take reasonable steps to control the risk of harm or injury. This might include:
If you’d like to know more about how to implement safe working practices for employees who regularly use display screen equipment, contact us for a free 10-minute consultation. We can offer staff training or help you to conduct display screen equipment assessments to ensure that you remain compliant with health and safety law while protecting the welfare of your employees.