Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Assessment
Display Screen Equipment Assessment or Workstation Assessment is an important step in protecting people in our workplace.
DSE assessment is an important step in protecting people in our workplace. In doing this we are complying with the law and more importantly, we are ensuring that individuals who use DSE are keeping safe and well by ensuring that the likelihood of ill health from poor posture or incorrectly positioned equipment is minimised.
On this page
- COVID-19 and DSE
- How to do your DSE assessment
- DSE at home
- DSE in the office
- Manager's role in the DSE process
- DSE Assessor's role in the DSE process
- Work routine and breaks
- Eye tests for DSE users
- New and expectant mothers and other health conditions
- Manual handling of DSE equipment
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of staff are working from home and may continue to do so for an extended period. UCL is running a workstation assessment programme for all staff and postgraduates to reduce the risks of employee ill-health associated with the use of display screen equipment (DSE). You should follow UCL guidance on Returning to Work.
Undertaking a DSE assessment is mandatory at UCL and an important part of assessing your comfort. Log into riskNET and follow the steps in the tutorial below. Please use Google Chrome to access riskNET as this gives the best user experience.
> riskNET (UCL Login required)
Video Tutorial: Access, Complete and Submit Workstation (DSE) Assessment
The risks of working at home with DSE are the same as using DSE in the workplace. The risks are increased if the home workstation equipment cannot be adjusted to achieve good posture. This may not be significant if you are working at home infrequently, however, regular home working will significantly increase the risk of upper limb disorders, backache, fatigue and stress, temporary eye-strain and headaches.
If you predominantly work at home using DSE, you still need to complete a DSE assessment which will be sent to your line manager.
How to achieve comfort when working at home
If you predominantly work on campus using DSE, you still need to complete a DSE assessment which will be sent to your line manager.
If you have a fixed workstation that you work at every day, then it is likely that you can adjust your workstation to suit your needs. However, it is important to regularly revisit your workstation set-up as changes in your body could require an adjustment to your workstation or chair.
Reviewing your DSE assessment when at a fixed location is also important to ensure there have not been any changes to your circumstances which impact your health as it will alert your manager of any additional needs.
Before you start work
When using a workstation you should start by ensuring that you adjust the position of equipment to suit your needs.
The chair must have a sufficient range in height adjustment for each user. In addition, a shorter person may need a footrest which may not be necessary for a taller person using the same equipment.
Managers have a key role in resolving issues that may be highlighted within the DSE assessments of their team.
- Once your team member has completed their DSE assessment, you will receive a system-generated email from riskNET highlighting any issues that have been raised as a result of the assessment
- Managers can find advice on how to best support their teams with their DSE in the Guidance section below
- For complex issues, managers may wish to seek advice from your departmental DSE assessors and you can find out the name of your DSE Assessor by looking at the Responsible Persons Register (RPR) within riskNET. If further specialist advice and opinion is then required, managers should consider a ‘management referral’ to UCL Workplace Health
- Managers should update the team member's assessment in riskNET to indicate the actions taken to resolve the issues. Once the issues have been resolved the manager should sign off the assessment
- Log into riskNET and follow the steps in the tutorial below. Please use Google Chrome to access riskNET as this gives the best user experience.
Guide for managers on the purchase of DSE equipment
Video Tutorial: Access, Review and Sign off Workstation (DSE) Assessment
Video Tutorial: Identify Departmental DSE Assessor on riskNET-Responsible Persons Register
If your department does not have an allocated DSE Assessor, email Safety Services for advice. They can suggest an alternative DSE Assessor or put you in touch with Workplace Health.
DSE Assessors provide an essential advisory role looking at workstation set-up and assist managers in reviewing more complex cases.
As a DSE Assessor, you will make a really useful contribution to your department by supporting your team and colleagues. Safety Services offers training on how to manage the process so if you are interested in becoming a DSE Assessor, please book on to our training.
Further information for DSE users
There is no legal guidance about how long or how often breaks should be taken when undertaken when using DSE. It depends on the kind of work you are doing.
Breaks or changes of activity will allow you to get up from your workstations and move around, or at least stretch and change posture.
You should take short breaks often, rather than longer breaks less often. For example, five to 10 minutes every hour is better than 20 minutes every two hours. Breaks or changes of activity will allow you to get up from your workstations and move around, or at least stretch and change posture.
Ideally, it is also best if you can choose when your breaks are although in some circumstances set breaks have to be implemented due to the work being undertaken. In most jobs, it is possible to stop DSE work and do other tasks, such as going to meetings or making phone calls. If there are no natural changes in activity in a job, managers should plan rest breaks.
There is break monitoring software available that can offer you a reminder about when to take a break or move around.
- Workrave app
The task change software Workrave is free to download and reminds computer users to take a break from the keyboard and make postural changes at regular intervals.
- Time Out app
Task change software 'Time Out' is a free app and reminds users of Macs to break from the keyboard to make postural changes at regular intervals.
UCL supports DSE users by giving you access to full eyesight tests that are undertaken by an optometrist or doctor, including a vision test and an eye examination.
If after an eyesight test an optometrist or doctor identifies that you need special glasses prescribed for the use of DSE or VDU equipment UCL will contribute to the cost of glasses for this purpose.
Details on how to arrange eye tests can be found at the following link.
New and expectant mothers or people with some health conditions may not always be able to be managed with a standard DSE assessment although this is likely to be the right first step. Making your manager aware of your health can enable them to help seek out the appropriate support for you.
Further advice may also be available via the following links:
If you have to travel with work equipment, do not carry a load whose size or weight presents a manual handling risk. Use rucksacks and/or wheeled bags where possible.
Do not take risks in the event that there is an attempt to steal laptops or UCL equipment from you, allow the equipment to be taken and report the incident immediately to your Line Manager.
The following link gives guidance on manual handling risks.
Last updated: Thursday, May 6, 2021