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Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

12 April 2024

Display Screen Equipment (DSE), also referred to as a Visual Display Unit (VDU), may cause a number of health problems. Display screens cause many instances of eye strain, wrist strain, back problems and headaches. When seeking solutions to address these issues, a common mistake is to look into display equipment and the technology associated with it. However, to adequately address the issue of health problems associated with the use of DSE, we must understand common work activities ergonomics and the ill-health conditions associated with inadequate ergonomic design.


Display Screen Equipment (DSE) and the Relevant Legislation

The main legislation that addresses Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The main purpose of this legislation is to ensure and promote a preventive approach to occupational health and safety. However, a specific piece of legislation covers use of DSE specifically. The Safety, Health and Welfare at work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Chapter 5 of Part 2: Display Screen Equipment outlines the responsibilities of the employer with regard to the workstation of employees.


What the Term Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Covers (and What Does Not)

Schedule 4 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 sets the minimum requirements for all Display Screen Equipment (DSE) that should be in place for workstations. The Schedule covers a number of elements, such as:

  • Display Screen Equipment.
  • Keyboard.
  • Work Desk and/or Work Surface.
  • Work Chair.
  • Environment (such as space requirement, lighting, radiation, heat and humidity, noise).
  • Employee Computer Interface (software should be suitable for the task and easy to use).

The following are not covered by the regulation:

  • Drivers’ cabs or control cabs for vehicles and machinery.
  • Computer systems on board a means of transport.
  • Computer systems mainly intended for public use.
  • Portable display screen equipment not in prolonged use at workstation.
  • Typewriters of traditional design, of the type known as “typewriter with window”.


Basic Health Hazards Associated with Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

The basic health hazards associated with the use of DSE are:

  • Musculoskeletal Problems (e.g., tenosynovitis).
  • Visual Problems (e.g., visual fatigue, eye strain, sore eyes, headaches, and in extreme cases skin rashes and nausea).
  • Psychological Problems (stress-related problems, often caused by environmental factors such as noise, heat, humidity and poor lighting, and poor managerial practices such as poor staff training, poor workstation design, high-speed working and lack of breaks).


Addressing the Issue – Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

To address the staff knowledge gap issue when working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE), eLearn Safety developed a fully online VDU/DSE training course. On completion of this VDU training course, participants will be provided with the information necessary to ensure current legislation is complied, risk assessments are carried out and all employees are competent to adjust their work stations to provide a safe place to work in.

All employers and staff who use VDU workstations for any length of time should do this course to learn how to avoid the range of adverse effects on the arm, hand and shoulder (WRULD’s) and other parts of the body.

Another useful course is Workplace Safety – Level 1. This course is ideal for every employee in any workplace that’s subject to Health and Safety Legislation. Safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. It provides all employees who participate on this course with information on how to identify hazards and carry out simple risk assessments.

For additional information about workplace ergonomics, please see eLearn Safety blog entry from 23rd June 2023 titled Ergonomics in the Workplace. In addition, Display Screen Equipment – (DSE/VDU) – Frequently Asked Questions by the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) provides useful information to tackle the issue of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) use.


Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training