A DSE assessment or Display Screen Equipment assessment is an assessment of a computer user’s workstation. Our specialist physiotherpists have all at least 15 years of clinical exerience and have undertaken specific additional training in assessing PC workstations. Our specialist physiotherapists will carry out an indepth assessment which would normally take around 45 minutes to an hour. The physio would then write a report which would document any advice given or adjustments made at the time of the assessment, any recomendations regarding equipment and any other advice or recommendations which were appropriate.
Why should you have DSE assessments carried out?
Whilst there are a number of reasons why DSE assessments are important to carry out, there are two major ones. One is to reduce the impact of musculoskeletal problems and therefore absence on your workforce and the second is that there is a legal duty to provide suitable equipement for DSE users. Both of these topics are explored below.
The effect of Musculoskeletal problems on your workforce
Work Related Musculo Skeletal Disoders(WRMSDs) cause an extimated 11.6 million lost days per year in the UK, therefore it would seem sensible to take any reasonable practicable measures to reduce the risk of lost days to the minimum. The management of WRMSDs is covered in more detail in our Occupational Health page. However it can summarised as having quick access to Occupational Health(including Physiotherapy), having early return to work as a primary goal and using integrated interventions which should address any biomechanical and psychosocial factors which act as barriers to returning to work. A poorly designed or set up workstation would definitely come under the heading of being a biomechanical factor acting as a barrier to returning to work.
What is the legal background to DSE assessments?
Employers whether they are Public, Private or Third Sector have a duty under Common Law to take reasonable care of their employees and to guard against ” reasonably foreseeable risks of injury”.
Firsly who is regarded as a DSE user, the DSE regulations define a DSE user as someone who uses a PC or laptop habitually for the purposes of work as a significant part of normal work. Realistically you should regard someone as a DSE user if they use a PC or laptop for more than an hour continuously, more or less daily, with high levels of concentration or attention.
Secondly what is defined as a workstation. The regulations define a workstation as the computer equipment, the desk, the chair, any optional computer equipement or desktop equipement and the immediate work environment.
Thirdly what oblligations do employers have. Employers have an obligation to carryout a “suitable and sufficient analysis” of their employee’s workstation. This assessment needs to be conducted by a competent person and to reduce the risk identified to the lowest extent that is reasonably practicable.
Finally the regulations specify minimum requirements for the equipement that is provided for the use of employees.
What should you expect from your DSE assessment?
Your DSE assesser will be one of our physiotherapists who has carried out specific post graduate training from the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics or ACPOHE. They will have contacted you previously to arrange a time that is convenient for you. The assessment really can be split into two seperate components, a subjective component where the physio will discuss your problems and any other issues and a objective component where the physio will look at you and your workstation setup.
The subjective component will include simple administrative information such as name, job title etc. However it would also include a discussion of any relevent medical issues such as low back pain or neck pain, problems with your eyesight or any other relevant medical problems.
The objective or physical component will include looking at you at your current workstation. The factors which would be considered would include your desk, chair, monitor, keyboard, mouse or any other pointing device such as track balls and any other equipment which you may use such as document holders or foot rests. The immediate environment would also be assessed. The assesser would then need to take some measurements, for example your thigh length to ensure that the seat pan depth is adequate.
Understandably there are aspects of the subjective and objective components which you may not be confortable with discussing in a open plan office. Therefore we would recomend that a meeting or other room is booked to ensure an appropriate level of privacy so that you are comfortable discussing any personal issues which may have an effect on your problems. Any adjustments which can be made to your current workstation equipment would be made at the time of your assessment. Similarly any advice that your assesser feels is appropriate would be given to you at the time of your assessment.
Once the assessment has been carried out the referer, who would normally be your Line Manager, Occupational Health Adviser or Human Resources Adviser; will receive the completed DSE report which would include any advice and recomendations within 72 hours. If in the assessor’s opinion the current workstation is not appropriate then suitable equipment such as an appropriate chair would be specified.
How do I arrange a DSE assessment?
We are based in Eskbank just outside Edinburgh. We supply DSE assessments throughout Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian. We are open from 8 am until 8 pm Monday to Thursday and 8 am until 6 pm Friday, therefore we can be flexible with regards to arranging a site visit within your normal working hours which is convenient for the member of staff and the needs of your business. Please contact us to discuss your requirements and/or to arrange a DSE assessment.