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DSE: simple checks for offices re-opening and temporary home-working

As workplaces and offices are re-opening, businesses have been putting resources into making the workplace Covid Secure to keep the virus at bay. Some of these arrangements have changed how offices and workstations are arranged and where desks are located. Keeping social distancing also means for some part time or on-going home working may be required.

With offices often being closed for a few months, here’s a simple guide for employers regarding display screen equipment (DSE).

For employees returning to the office, especially those with changes to their workstation, they need to check and adjust their chair and equipment. It is best to do this as part of the return to work process. A full DSE risk assessment is unlikely to be necessary, but the use of a self-assessment checklist will ensure employees follow the steps to set up their workstation for comfort and safety, and that there is a record of this.

Others will continue to work from home. Where this is a temporary measure the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) do not require a DSE assessment to be carried out as there is no increase in risks. However, they recommend some simple tips for employees

  • breaking up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks (at least 5 minutes every hour) or changes in activity
  • avoiding awkward, static postures by regularly changing position
  • getting up and moving or doing stretching exercises
  • avoiding eye fatigue by changing focus or blinking from time to time

The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors have produced a useful visual guide for home working too.

For setting up a home-based workstation:

And for temporary working where you cannot set up an ideal ergonomic position:

Where home working becomes long term or permanent, employers should explain how to carry out full workstation assessments and provide workers with appropriate equipment and advice on control measures.

Safety Management have been providing support and advise to a range of organisations to ensure they are able to re-open the workplace safely. If you would like our support, please contact us, we’re happy to help.

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