SC25 - Display screen equipment (DSE)
06 Dec 2010



Management of Display Screen Equipment




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  ​BiteSize SHE

DSE 'Try Before You​ Buy'



1​Initial launchFebruary 2009​
1.1Change to 4.3 & 4.6​​ to reflect new DSE glasses procedureNovember 2012
1.2Various changes to emphasise other types of non-office DSE in labs and workshops.January 2013
1.3Amendments to audit checklistMay 2013
1.3.1Minor amendment to trainingNovember 2013
Add Document retention policy Appendix
August 2014
Removal of DSE Advisor role
August 2015
​Minor change to reflect the launch of SHE Assure
​October​ 2018

1. Purpose

The use of Display Screen Equipment (DSE), in particular personal computers (desktop, laptop and tablet PCs, and smart phones/tablets), is now a common feature of most roles in the STFC. This code establishes consistent standards and controls to effectively manage the risks to health created by the use of DSE in offices, workshops or laboratories.

Failure to manage the hazards associated with long term DSE use can result in a wide range of injuries and ill health which can result in significant personal suffering, reduced operational efficiency, and a loss of time and money.


Common symptoms arising from poor consideration of DSE hazards include:

  • musculoskeletal upper limb pain and discomfort (Work Related Upper Limb Disorders);
  • backache;
  • visual fatigue and headaches; and
  • mental stress

The following legislation provides the regulatory framework for managing DSE and related workplace safety:

  • Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations, 1992, amended by the 'Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations', 2002, (DSE Regulations);
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, 1999; and
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, 1992.

This code provides guidelines on the selection and use of DSE, the design of workstations, the planning and control of the work involving DSE, and the screening and investigation of DSE related incidents.

2. Scope

This code applies to all STFC employees, temporary workers, and tenants at STFC sites.

This code applies to the use of personal computers, desktop, laptop or notebook, and any other equipment containing display screens, for example in laboratory or workshop​ equipment.

This code applies also to DSE used by STFC staff while working at non-STFC sites, for example overseas laboratories such as CERN.

Where formal home working is agreed by line management this code applies also to the use of DSE by staff at home. This code does not cover DSE used at home by staff that are not formal home workers.

3. Definitions

3.1 Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Any alphanumeric or graphic display screen, regardless of the display process involved, also known as Visual Display Units (VDUs).

3.2 DSE Workstation

An assembly used for working, including the immediate environment and lighting conditions, comprising some or all of the following:

  • DSE: desktop PC, monitor, keyboard, laptop/tablet PC docking stations or any other input device;
  • Optional accessories used with the DSE for example mice or other pointing devices; external disk drives; speakers; telephone; printer; document holder; and
  • Work desk, chair and other items peripheral to the DSE.
3.3 DSE User

A person, employee, temporary worker, or tenant who regularly uses DSE as a significant part of their normal work - specifically, someone who uses DSE for continuous periods of 30 minutes or more on average more than three times per week.

3.4 Occupational Health teams

Occupational Health service provision is available to all STFC staff but may vary in the manner it is delivered depending on location, from full time on site provision through to contracted off site services made available to staff through local HR or staff support teams

4 Responsibilities

4.1 Line Managers and/or Supervisors shall:
  • 4.1.1 Ensure that their DSE users are aware of the requirements of this SHE Code and consider DSE issues in designing roles, workstations and work schedules, see Appendices 1-4, and maintain general vigilance to the correct setup of DSE workstations for their staff and other working with them.
  • 4.1.2 Ensure that staff know that they should take adequate breaks away from workstations and equipment to exercise eyes and body as described in Appendix 4.
  • 4.1.3 Ensure that their DSE Users undertake the training detailed in Appendix 5, and know who their local DSE Advisor(s) are. advisor.
  • 4.1.4 Ensure that DSE self assessments are undertaken by their DSE Users (permanent and temporary) when setting up a workstation and following significant DSE changes. This requirement applies irrespective of whether the individual(s) involved normally work at an STFC site, non-STFC site, or from home, as appropriate seeking the advice of SHE Group or Occupational Health.
  • 4.1.5 Ensure that control measures identified through DSE assessments undertaken by their DSE users are implemented as soon as is practicable.
  • 4.1.6 Seek the approval of relevant site or local HR teams prior to formally allowing or requesting employees to carry out STFC work in their own home.
  • Managers of home workers must ensure that their home DSE workstations meet the requirements set out in appendices 1-4, and that a documented DSE self assessment is carried out.
4.2 DSE Users shall:
  • 4.2.1 Adhere to the requirements of this SHE code in setting up and adjusting their workstation or equipment including DSE.
  • 4.2.2 Manage their work schedules to take breaks as appropriate to exercise their eyes and body.
  • 4.2.3 Attend/undertake DSE training as detailed in Appendix 5.
  • 4.2.4 Carry out a DSE self assessment when commencing work at a new workstation or when significant changes occur to their workstation(s) [major changes to the DSE, furniture, room or layout], to the DSE User [injury, pregnancy] or the work undertaken, see Appendices 1-4. DSE assessments should be undertaken where users are permitted to work from home by their line management. Once completed DSE self assessments should be discussed with their line management and as appropriate SHE Group or Occupational Health, and control measures identified in the assessment should be implemented promptly
  • The relevant STFC DSE pro forma and records are held on SHE Assure. Where SHE Assure​ is not available electronic copies of the pro forma can be found on the STFC SHE​ website.
    The relevant STFC DSE pro forma can be found on the STFC SHE website.
  • 4.2.5 When using portable DSE follow the guidance given in Appendix 2.
  • 4.2.6 Where self assessments identify the need for an eye or eyesight test and/or spectacles for DSE use, users should request an eyesight test via their line manager. The cost of eyesight tests, and as appropriate the provision of spectacles for DSE, will be borne by the STFC.
    4.2.6 Where self assessments identify the need for an eye or eyesight test and/or spectacles for DSE use, users should request an eyesight test via their line manager. The cost of eyesight tests, and as appropriate the provision of spectacles for DSE, will be borne by the STFC.
  • 4.2.7 Report any DSE related health or safety issues to their supervisor or line manager, and also as a SHE incident following STFC SHE Code 5 Incident Reporting and Investigation.
  • 4.2.8 Attend relevant DSE training and refresher training detailed in Appendix 5.
4.3 SHE Group shall:
  • 4.3.1 Provide specialist DSE advice and assist in the interpretation of this code.
  • 4.3.2 Organise and deliver DSE training in respect of this code.
4.4 Occupational Health shall:
  • 4.4.1 Advise, and resolve where possible, health issues that have arisen from the use of DSE.

5. References

  • 5.1 Work with DSE, The Health and Safety (DSE) Regulations 1992, as amended 2002, guidance on DSE regulations. L26. HMSO ISBN 0717625826
  • 5.2 Working with VDUs IND (G) 36LHSE free leaflet.
  • 5.3​ BS EN ISO 9241 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) ​
Contact: Smith, Andrew (STFC,DL,COO)