How often and long should breaks be from your desk?
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 and refocus your eyes; doing some simple stretching exercises at your desk can be very useful too.
Why does working with PC’s make my eyes hurt?
Computer eye strain has become a major job-related complaint due to the length of time many employees are required to be at their desks on their PC’s. Problems can range from physical tiredness, increased number of errors to eye twitching or red eyes. The first thing you should do is book an eye test to make sure that nothing is seriously wrong. Your optician should then be able to advise the best solution for you whether that is to use computer eyewear, modify your workstation, take more breaks or exercise your eyes.
Am I entitled to an eye test if I work with DSE?
If users request an eye test from an employer because they have to use DSE, then the law states the employer must arrange and pay for one. They must also provide employees with glasses if they need them for DSE.
Does DSE apply to laptops?
Yes DSE applies to laptops. DSE can also apply to desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
My wrist hurts from using my mouse, what can I do?
Using a mouse all day requires you to use the same small muscles in your wrists and hands over and over again while you scroll, click and travel with your mouse. Ensure your mouse is in reach of your arms when they are at a 90-degree angle to prevent reaching for the mouse and straining.
How do I correctly apply DSE if I have 2 screens?
Having multiple screens can cause more eye straining and muscle pain as you are constantly twisting between the 2. Two screens should be sat side-by-side and the outer edge of each screen should be twisted towards you. If you use one as the main screen more often, this should be sat in front of you and the other screen should sit to the side. They should be at the same height and the same size (where possible).
What are my responsibilities as an employer for DSE?
Employers need to assess employees workstations to determine any risks associated with DSE. A DSE Assessment checklist should be used to give guidance on how employees workstations should be set up and whether any action needs to be taken. Employers also need to pay for any sight test employees to require from DSE use.
What legislation covers DSE?
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 applies to DSE.
Am I entitled to any form of training if I work with Display Screen Equipment Workstation?
Employers have to provide health and safety training for their employees including DSE Training and DSE Assessments. This should include how to avoid risks associated with DSE and should encourage good DSE practices like good posture.
Are you covered by DSE if you work from home?
DSE regulations still apply to people who work from home even if the workstation is not supplied by the employer. Employees working from home can be trained to undertake their own risk assessment at home.
Why do I need to set up my pc?
It is not just your PC that you need to ‘set up’ but your whole workstation. You need to make sure that how you are working is not going to have a negative impact in the future.
Knowing how to set up your workstation and acting on this knowledge is a simple but effective way of improving posture and increasing your comfort, well-being and efficiency at work
What do I do if working with a PC is causing me pain?
Firstly, talk to your employer as they should provide you with Display Screen Equipment training to make sure your workstation is set up correctly. If you have done this but are still getting pain at work you may need to look into your daily routine and start taking more frequent breaks to do some stretches. For persistent pain, you should always see your physician.
FAQs regarding our DSE course
How long does the course take?
This course takes 35 minutes to complete including the multiple choice test.
How long is my certificate valid for?
It is up to the training administrator of the employee as to when training needs to be refreshed. However, to stay up-to-date with legislation, we recommend that training should be renewed every year.
What devices can I complete the course on?
Our courses can be completed on a range of devices, they’re compatible with Desktops, laptops, mobile phones, iPads and other tablets.
Why is this training important?
DSE is important to reduce the risk of such things as RSI, eye strain, headaches and poor posture. This training will equip you with the skills to organize your workstation so it is reduces these risks while also aiming to make your station as productive as possible.
What approvals does this course have?
This course is IOSH Approved and CPD Accredited
Documents and resources
Arms and upper body tension relief
This particular video shows some great exercises that can be carried out at your desk to help with tension across the top of your body. They work by stretching your arms and holding them for a short time in a position that will go some way towards ‘undoing’ the stress your body builds up from holding its normal position for long periods.
DSE - Check your posture
This resource would be useful to have as a poster in your office to remind people about their posture. Constantly being reminded about your posture might enable you to adopt new habits and give yourself a healthier posture.
DSE - The New Normal
The best way to try and adopt a new habit is repetition. By constantly reminding yourself about your posture, you will create a good natural posture. Place this poster in your workplace to remind your staff how they should be sat at their desk!
DSE Exercises Poster
Taking regular breaks to stretch your muscles and give your eyes a rest is vital, so you can prevent stress and tension in your mind and body. If you have any pains or injuries, or you’re undergoing any treatment, please consult your doctor before you start any new stretches or exercises; and make sure you stop immediately if you feel any pain.
DSE eye exercises
Long spells of work in front of a computer screen can often lead to tired eyes and headaches; and eyestrain is often caused, or worsened, by continued concentration on the computer screen. Here we have a short video which includes a simple exercise to re-focus the eyes - regularly repeating this exercise will help to avoid the eyes being ‘fixed’ in one position and help reduce the chances of eyestrain. The video also includes an exercise to remind you to blink regularly to keep your eyes moist, as staring at a fixed point like a computer screen reduces blink rate, so your eyes become dry and start to feel gritty.
Take a look at these simple exercises from the iHASCO Display Screen Equipment training programme which will help to prevent and alleviate problems.
If you spend a good deal of your time typing on a keyboard or holding a pen or pencil it is very useful to take time to ‘de-stress’ your muscles by stretching them in the opposite direction.
Shoulder stress relief
Your shoulders can become very tense as you work. This very simple exercise, rather like shrugging your shoulders, is a gentle but effective exercise to help relieve tension across your shoulders. This short video shows the simple shoulder stress reliever and is taken from the iHASCO Display Screen Equipment training programme.
Stress relief for arms
During the course of a day the stress in your arms can really build up. Taken from iHASCO’s Display Screen Equipment training programme these 3 excellent exercises can be repeated at any time to stretch the muscles and release tension in your arms. The exercises are simple and can be done at your desk.
Workstation & Equipment Cleaning
The average work desk is 400 times dirtier than the average toilet seat… yuk! Ensure that employees have a clean and tidy workstation to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
The following 3 exercises will help you to strengthen your wrists, ‘de-stress’ them and keep them flexible.
DSE & Workstation Checklist for Staff
This checklist can be printed off and given to staff to fill out.
- Important information for employers and responsible persons regarding DSE
- A printable checklist for staff including questions on their monitors, chairs, mouse, keyboard, laptops and the environment around them
- Information on other resources and how you can keep up-to-date and informed