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The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations

These regulations came into force on 1st January 1993 (some minor changes were made in 2002) and they seek to protect the health of workers by reducing risks from VDU work.

Do you use display screen equipment (DSE) or a visual display unit (VDU)?

Computer workstations or equipment can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pains, fatigue and eyestrain. These aches and pains are sometimes called upper limb disorders (ULDs) or repetitive strain injuries (RSI). These problems can be avoided by following good practice.

Display screen equipment (DSE) is any work equipment having a screen that displays information. Typical examples are computer screens often called monitors or VDUs.Surveys have found that high proportions of DSE workers report aches, pains or eye discomfort. Mostly these conditions do not indicate any serious ill health, but it makes sense to avoid them as far as possible.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations aim to protect the health of people who work with DSE. That does not mean that DSE work is risky – it isn’t, if the user follows good practice like setting up their workstation well and taking breaks in intensive work.

The Regulations were introduced because DSE has become one of the commonest kinds of work equipment. So there is potential to make work more comfortable and productive for very large numbers of people by taking a few simple precautions.

There is a web-friendly version of leaflet INDG36(rev3), revised 12/06 which gives a good introduction to the regulations. Visit www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf to download Working with VDUs.

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