Avoid a lawsuit and keep your staff working comfortably
Did you know that as an employer it is your legal responsibility to ensure your staff receive a display screen equipment assessment? Under the Health and Safety Regulations Act 1992, those who use display screen equipment (DSE) for one or more hours a day, must have an assessment.
DSE assessments aren’t simply a box ticking exercise, incorrectly set-up workstations or workstation’s that are not set up correctly for the user can result in a range of musculoskeletal disorders as well as a bad back, aching shoulders, arm and wrist pain and more. If left unresolved for periods of time, this can result in absenteeism, a reduction in productivity, reduced team morale and in some cases, even a law-suit.
What is a DSE assessment?
A DSE assessment is carried out by an ergonomic specialist who reviews the entire workstation set up. This includes checking everything from the desk and screen height, location of the mouse and keyboard as well as the chair. For many workers who use DSE equipment, often it is simply a case of making adjustments to the already existing equipment in order for it to be comfortable for them. In other instances, specialist equipment such as an ergonomic chair or mouse may be required in order to provide the adequate level of safety.
Why do you need to carry out DSE assessments in your workplace?
DSE assessments are not only a legal requirement but, they make a huge difference in the workplace. When colleagues feel under-appreciated and like they aren’t being listened to, morale reduces and consequently productivity reduces. Absenteeism also increases as employees may have to take extended time off of work whilst they recover from their ailments. DSE assessments ensure workplace safety is upheld but, when neglected can be time consuming and costly.
What can happen if you don’t address DSE in your workplace?
An example of not addressing DSE in the workplace can be seen here in the UK. An employment tribunal has ruled that a receptionist at a soft play centre will receive a £34,000 payout after working behind her boat-shaped desk worsened her wrist pain.
The receptionist had complained that the desk design meant she had to constantly reach down to a lower counter to pick up the payment machine 100 times a day. This meant her carpal tunnel syndrome was exacerbated and after raising several concerns, nothing was done to assist her. It wasn’t until two years after she had joined that an occupational health assessment was carried out. They then advised fixing the machine to a cradle along with other recommendations but, no action came from these.
After taking her employer to court, the receptionist won £34,145 in compensation as she had ‘soldiered on’ despite her pain whilst at work. Several ergonomic concerns about her boat shaped desk were raised but, as no action was taken, the matter was left to get worse. This resulted in the receptionist taking sick leave.
It’s important to make sure that all employees receive a DSE assessment whether they are working remotely, from home or from your business’s facility. Left untreated can damage workplace morale as well as long term sickness and reduced productivity, all of which is damaging to how effective businesses can run.
DSE assessments with VergoUK can be carried out in-person, remotely or rolled out company-wide online. All solutions can be scaled to any business meaning if you require one DSE assessment or one thousand, we are able to support you. Learn more here about our DSE assessments here, or please get in touch.