Although there is no fixed time between breaks or length of breaks stated in the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, the regulations do suggest that breaks should be ‘periodically’ taken. The regulations suggest that each person’s work should be designed to include a mix of tasks, some screen based and some non-screen based, to allow natural breaks from concentrating on the screen, sitting in the same position or repetitive input work, for example.
Sometimes, due to the nature of your work, this is not possible, and in this case, deliberate breaks must be introduced.
We suggest as a minimum guideline at least 5 minutes in every hour should be spent away from the screen, but it’s also important to make sure you change posture regularly, refocus eyes; and doing some simple stretching exercises at your desk can be very useful too.
The HSE suggest that short, frequent breaks are better than less frequent longer breaks, so a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes is better than a 20 minute break every 3 hours.
The relevant regulation is…
Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, daily work routine of users:
4. Every employer shall so plan the activities of users at work in his undertaking that their daily work on display screen equipment is periodically interrupted by such breaks or changes of activity as reducing their workload at that equipment.