Health & Safety regulations when working with computers

07 August 2017

If you’ve employees who regularly use computers as part of their job, you’re obliged to comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, to protect your employees from any associated risks.

Health & Safety risks

There are a number of associated Health & Safety risks when working with computers. Some of the most common symptoms employees may experience if using their computer improperly are:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • A strain on their eyes
  • Back or neckache
  • Pains and strains around their upper limbs.

Remember, symptoms aren’t always the result of the employee using their computer improperly, they could be down to poorly designed workstations or work environments.

Controlling the risks

You should evaluate the risks by getting employees who regularly use computers to complete a Display Screen Equipment assessment form.

Include questions like:

  • How much time is spent on the computer per day?
  • Do they get aches, pains or sensory loss in their neck, back, shoulder or upper limbs?
  • Are the images on screen free from flicker and movement?
  • Can the screen be tilted and swivelled?
  • Are all the keyboard characters clear and easily readable?
  • Can the mouse settings be adjusted to fit personal preferences?
  • Is there adequate leg room under the desk?

To list just a few.

If you’ve five or more employees on your books, you’re legally required to document your findings. Although you’re not obliged to if you have fewer than five employees, we’d still recommend you keep records.

You’re also responsible for ensuring all employees working with computers are provided with sufficient information, instruction and health and safety training, alongside the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) where required. This will enable employees to identify risks themselves, and implement their own safe working practices.

Review

You should review your Display Screen Equipment assessments each time an employee’s workstation or work environment changes, when an employee raises a concern or when the nature of the job changes significantly.

Reviews should also be triggered if an employee’s had an accident that might change how or how long they can complete a computer-based activity for.

For help with any element of Health & Safety requirements when working with computers, get in touch with one of our experts today.

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