Safe use of Display Screen Equipment (OBUHSN 32)


The Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations require an employer to make an assessment of all computer workstations to identify and reduce the risks to health of the individuals using them. Information and training on the safe use of DSE must also be provided to all users. The 'user', and the 'workstation' are defined below. These requirements are applicable to all those Oxford Brookes University employees who are recognised as DSE users. With the exception of vision assessment and correction, these requirements are also applicable to the self-employed and employees of other organisations using Oxford Brookes' workstations.

This Health and Safety Notice should be read and understood by any member of staff who uses DSE together with those responsible for implementing this guidance.


Below are the definitions laid down in the Display Screen Equipment Regulations relevant to Oxford Brookes University:

  • Display Screen Equipment is any alphanumeric or graphic display screen (this covers conventional cathode-ray tube display screen and other types such as liquid crystal or plasma used in flat screen, touch screen and other emerging technologies) regardless of the display process involved. The term DSE (Display Screen Equipment) is the common term used at Oxford Brookes University for such equipment.
  • A User is a member of staff who habitually uses display screen equipment as a significant part of their normal work. A more detailed definition is given in guidance on determining display screen equipment users.
  • A workstation is a general term encompassing the computer, screen, keyboard, mouse, printer, document holder, chair, desk, work surface and other peripheral items used in association with the DSE and the immediate working environment.

DSE users

Deans and Directors of Faculties/Directorates will be responsible for deciding who are DSE users in their Faculty/Directorate using the guidance in guidance on determining display screen equipment users. All DSE users must be notified to OCSLD in order that training for the individual can be arranged. The Dean or Director of a Faculty/Directorate will review the designation of users every three years if no change of job, personnel or organisation has necessitated a prior review. Anyone not designated as a user may request and will be granted an assessment.

Additionally, the chair of the interview panel will identify new staff as users by filling out the selection form provided for the interview by Human Resources.

Workstation assessment

Deans and Directors of Faculties/Directorates will be responsible for nominating a suitably trained assessor. The assessor will assess each DSE workstation with its user(s) to evaluate the individual(s)’ safety and health risks and take appropriate measures to eliminate or reduce to a minimum any risks to health or safety which are found.

  • Assessments of workstations will take place every three years if no change of location, office layout, equipment, or user has necessitated a prior assessment.
  • When carrying out the assessment the assessor will use the guidance notes as detailed in Display screen equipment workstation assessment form.
  • The assessment will use the format as detailed in Display Screen Equipment Workstation Assessment, and be recorded. The result of the assessments will be monitored, and reviewed if any changes to the workstation, or the job, occurs.

Training and information

All designated users must receive training and information on the safe use of DSE. Deans and Directors of Faculties/Directorates are responsible for arranging training for a first time user or if the workstation is changed in any way. Established users will also receive refresher training every three years or on request.

  • During the training session provided by the Safety Team, users will be given information on all aspects of health and safety relating to their workstations including:
    • The measures taken by Oxford Brookes University to comply with their legal obligation,
    • The safe and healthy use and set up of the DSE and workstation, including the arrangements of workstations and correct use of furniture,
    • How to recognise symptoms of work related upper limb disorders and the correct method of reporting this and other symptoms or problems,
    • The need for taking breaks from the screen,
    • Information on the procedure for obtaining eyesight tests and corrective appliances will be given to users,
    • Provision of the HSE booklet Working with VDU's and with Display Screen Equipment Workstation Assessment of this Health and Safety Notice.
  • The Deans and Directors of Faculties/Directorates will ensure that adequate training is provided on the use of all software used by the user. This may be available from IT Services.
  • Training records will be kept in the users' personnel records.
  • DSE assessors will be provided with appropriate extra training to be able to undertake workstation assessments. The Safety Team will provide this training.

Work routines

Deans and Directors of Faculties/Directorates are responsible for structuring work on DSE so that it is periodically interrupted by breaks or changes of activity. It is recommended that after 50-60 minutes of uninterrupted keyboard work, the user undertake an alternative task for 5-10 minutes.

Vision assessment correction

The University has enhanced the statutory provisions on vision assessment and the provision of corrective appliances.

  • Under the Oxford Brookes University scheme, designated users are entitled to:
    • A refund of the cost of an eye test (if the University's designated optician is used) or a refund toward the cost of an eye test (if an alternative optician is used) every two years or more frequently if recommended by the optometrist.
    • Refund towards, or provision of, corrective appliances.
  • Full details of the Vision Assessment and Correction Scheme are in vision assessment and correction scheme.
  • Alternative arrangements may be made for staff working on campuses outside Oxfordshire. In this case contact the Safety Team or Senior Occupational Health Advisor for advice.

Procedure to resolve disagreement

In the event of a dispute arising over the Regulations' requirements not being met for a workstation or its user, guidance can be sought from the Safety Officer or Senior Occupational Health Advisor. In the event of an unresolved difficulty, the grievance procedure may be invoked.

Portable display screen equipment

This definition includes laptop and handheld computers, personal digital assistant and other emerging technologies. This equipment must not be used for prolonged periods of time unless a standard keyboard and mouse are attached. The screen must also be adjustable for height and tilt.

Home working

If members of staff are using DSE at home as a condition of their employment, this Health and Safety Notice and the Homeworking Implementation Guidelines for Applicants and Managers, will apply.

Issue: 7 July 2019