straight forward health and safty advice
Inappropriate use of display screens can cause fatigue, aches and pains
Display screen equipment (DSE) is used in many places; such as offices, manufacturing,
laboratories, and on precision machines to show their current performance.
In such instances, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations apply to people at
work who regularly use DSE as a significant part of their normal work i.e. daily, for continuous
periods of an hour or more.
The incorrect use of display screens, keyboards and mouse pointer may cause eye strain, upper
limb problems and backache; so if you get aches and pains whilst using them, follow the guidance
Ideally you should be able to sit, or stand, at the edge of the place where you
use the screen, without twisting or overstretching, or repositioning the keyboard,
mouse etc.; and if seated, have enough space under the workstation for comfort.
Position the screen to avoid prolonged or repetitive tilting of your neck. Your
eyes should be roughly the same height as the top of the screen. Also check that
the screen characters are clear, readable and flicker free, with a text size that is
comfortable for you. If glare and reflections are a problem, tilt or reposition the
screen, and if required close blinds to reduce daylight levels.
If seated, use a chair that has a variable height and back, can swivel, and preferably has casters or
gliders. Sit in the back of the chair with its back vertical, and the backrest set so that your lower
back is supported; and so there is a narrow space between the front edge of the chair and back of
your knees. Make sure that when typing, your forearms and hands are horizontal when your fingers
are touching the middle row of letters on the keyboard. Do not rest your wrists on the worktop
when typing, as this will make you bend your wrist awkwardly.
Ensure that you take regular breaks from DSE work, such as carrying out a different type of
task for a short while, as prolonged use can cause visual fatigue.
Laptops are not designed for intensive or prolonged use, as it’s not usually possible to do so with a
good posture. For this reason, they should not be used for long spells without additional
equipment, such as a laptop stand or docking station, and a full sized keyboard and a mouse.