Assessments should be carried out for new employees or when significant changes are made to an existing workstation.
The considerations to be made when assessing a workstation and advising a ‘user’ are:
- Sit with your bottom as far back onto your chair as is comfortably possible, with your back upright and relaxed and your feet on the floor.
- Adjust the seat so your hips are slightly above the level of your knees.
- There should never be any obstructions under your desk, ensure your legs can change position
- There should never be excess pressure on the underside of your thighs or back of your legs
- If armrests on chairs get in the way e.g. by hitting the desk, or restricting arm movement, remove them.
On top of your desk:
You should have approximately 10cm (4 inches) of clear room in front of your keyboard to rest your wrists during pauses in work, when you are not keying.
- Even if the workstation set-up is correct users will start to slouch unless they take regular brief breaks to stretch.
- If you find yourself constantly uncomfortable it may be that your DSE set up is wrong or you are not taking sufficient breaks. Contact your DSE assessor for assessment and advice.
If the majority of the work is undertaken at the DSE screen the screen should be directly in front of the user. If not, the screen could be slightly to the side but the user’s chair must be able to swivel into a comfortable typing position.
- Move the screen to the most comfortable position.
- Screen should be adjustable so that they can be swivelled from side to side and tilted up and down.
All electrical cables should be kept well clear of your feet and chair to prevent a tripping hazard and damage to the cable.
Give yourself as much free space as you can free from other clutter e.g. move printers or rarely used reference material elsewhere.
Please respond true or false to this statement:
Section 3. HEALTH MANAGEMENT
Organizing the work and taking breaks:
Prolonged static posture is known to contribute to musculoskeletal disorders. When organizing your work the following points are essential:
- Vary the task e.g. walk to a colleague to get information rather than e-mailing or using the phone
- Stretch and change position frequently. The occupational health service website has information about simple exercises to do at your desk
- Take breaks. Take a break before you get tired or uncomfortable. Short frequent breaks are far better than longer ones e.g. 2-3 minutes every 20 minutes is better than 10 minutes every 2 hours. Breaks should be taken away from the screen. If you find it difficult to remember to take a break, screen ‘breakers’ are available via the Internet to remind you.
- Change your posture from time to time, simple exercise can help reduce tiredness.
- Do not continue with any exercises if you experience any pain or problems.
The health risks associated with display screen equipment:
The health problems associated with poor DSE use are:
- Upper limb problems (including pains in the neck, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers).
- Fatigue and stress
- Temporary eye strain (but not eye damage) and headaches
DSE use does not cause any other health problems such as epilepsy, facial dermatitis, radiation-related illness, miscarriage or birth defects.
It is thought that poor desk set-up, extra time spent at the desk, more paper and clutter, and fewer breaks exposes people to greater risk of such problems
If you feel that you are experiencing health problems in relation to your work with computers please report these promptly to your departmental DSE Assessor or your Administrator.
The correct use of a display screen cannot damage your eyes in any way, but it may make you more aware of existing defects.