What is a DSE Assessment?

What is a DSE Assessment?

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) such as computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones are part and parcel of the modern workplace. Under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, employers have an obligation to carry out DSE assessments to ensure their team have safe working environments in line with specific guidelines. 

What is a DSE assessment?

Think of it as a workstation risk assessment for desk workers. If you’re a UK employer of  five or more employees who use DSE as a significant part of their work – every day for more than an hour at a time – you’re legally obliged to carry out DSE assessments for your team. 

A DSE assessment looks at how a screen is used and the desk setup as a whole. It is a tool to identify any hazards in the workspace, risks to the DSE user and the likelihood of harm. An assessment should go beyond screen equipment and cover the entire workstation, including: 

  • Furniture (chair, desk, footrest etc)
  • Peripherals (mouse, keyboard, laptop stand) 
  • Environmental factors (temperature, humidity, lighting and noise levels)

For more detail on the health and safety standards required for each area of your workstation, download our handy DSE workstation checklist for free!  

If you have remote or hybrid working employees who split their time between the home and office, both spaces will need a DSE assessment. We recommend repeating assessments on a regular basis, or whenever a new user starts work, a new workstation is set up or a change is made to an existing workstation. 

Why do DSE assessments matter? 

DSE assessments are a legal requirement under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. So, if you don’t carry out assessments for your team, you are breaking health and safety law. You’re also putting yourself at risk of hefty personal injury claims if an employee sustains an injury caused by a poor workplace setup. 

Did you know? A freelance journalist claimed £37,500 in compensation for a repetitive strain injury she developed at work, as her employer had not carried out a DSE assessment.

Working at a poorly designed workstation can have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing. Data from thousands of Vitrue VIDA users reveals that 28% of people are working at a workspace with substantially increased musculoskeletal health (MSK) risks, making them more susceptible to issues like back pain. In most cases, these issues are preventable with small adjustments to a workplace, such as repositioning a screen or raising a laptop. Adjusting your screen to the correct height takes seconds, but can reduce the pressure and force on your neck by a whopping 400%! 

DSE assessments are a valuable window into the working habits of your team. You can use the results of DSE assessments to ensure your team have the equipment and resources they need to work safely.

MSK trends in the workplace

How can I carry out a DSE assessment?

There are a few different ways you can conduct a DSE assessment:

  1. Traditional Questionnaires – your team complete self-assessments for their workstation and you manually compile the responses in a spreadsheet
  2. External assessment by an ergonomics expert – an independent company expert carries out virtual or face-to-face assessments of each workstation, providing a written report of their findings and suggested solutions
  3. Digital AI based assessments (our recommended solution!) – tools such as Vitrue VIDA enable you to become DSE compliant in as little as 30 seconds and empower employees to assess and improve their own workspaces

Every DSE assessment method will eventually get you to the end goal of becoming DSE compliant. But some solutions will take you on a much easier journey than others: 

Vitrue VIDA provides follow up programs to help employees proactively lower desk-related pain. Digital tools also have the option to schedule reminders for future assessments, making DSE compliance one less thing for you to remember!

Content Marketing Manager

Marisa has over 7 years of experience writing about a range of clinical topics including DSE, hybrid working and employee wellbeing. Check out more of Marisa's articles on the Vitrue Health blog!

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