How to choose the right DSE assessment

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As an employer, you're responsible for the comfort and safety of your team – and that includes their workstation and display screen equipment (DSE) set-up. Any employees that use screens continuously for an hour or more each day are classified as DSE users. Therefore, to reduce the risk of workplace injury, you need to arrange a DSE assessment in line with Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations.

But with so many options available, how do you know which ones are most suitable for your team?

Recap: what is a DSE assessment?

According to HSE statistics, 470,000 employees in the UK have work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Continual repetitious movement, force concentrated on the wrist and hand, and fixed or constrained body positions all contribute to common desk injuries. 

A DSE assessment evaluates an employee’s risks when using display screen equipment, (including laptops, PCs, tablets, and smartphones), so you can put measures in place to minimise them.

As well as reducing short-term discomfort, DSE workstation assessments can help prevent long-term issues, including visual fatigue, musculoskeletal disorders and mental stress

A DSE assessment looks at:

  • The employee’s job role
  • Workplace conditions
  • Furniture and equipment
  • Special requirements, e.g. for people with a visual impairment or other disability

What types of DSE assessments are available?

According to HSE regulations, employers must arrange a DSE assessment:

  • Any time an employee starts work
  • Whenever a new workstation is set up
  • When changes are made to an existing workstation or the employee’s physical condition
  • If a DSE user complains of pain or discomfort

The type you opt for will depend on the employee’s location as well as other factors such as your team size and any unique circumstances. 

It’s important to note that you must organise both an in-office and WFH DSE assessment for hybrid workers.

In-person

An in-person DSE assessment is a 1:1 session in the workplace that focuses on the health and well-being of your staff. Assessors will review the employee’s workstation setup, take key measurements and make recommendations about posture and work processes. 

Online self-assessments

If you have a larger team and it isn’t possible to offer them one-to-one workstation assessments (in-person or virtual), then an online DSE self-assessment is the fastest way to achieve DSE compliance. We would normally consider onl,ine DSE self-assessments for employers with over 20 employees and we would strongly encourage self-assessments for employers with over 50 employees. With greater than  50 employees the administrative burden and complexity becomes too much to manage easily and ensure that you are compliant. 

Your team members will use purpose-built DSE assessment software to answer questions about their desk set-up. The software will deliver training tailored to them and give them an action plan based on their reponses so that the employee is empowered to enure their own wellbeing wehn at home or the office. Of course even the most advanced software cant handle complex issues like RSI, nor should it. High risk cases like employees with RSI and other serious conditions will be flagged up so that they can be given extra attention. 

These self-assessments are easy and convenient for employees to complete. The software also allows employers to track and manage multiple assessments across office and WFH workplaces. 

Virtual workstation assessments

A virtual workstation assessment is suitable for all employees wherever they work and is a convenient alternative to an in-person evaluation. Using familiar video conferencing technology, an assessor delivers a thorough DSE assessment that minimises disruption but comprises the same level of detail as a 1:1 session.

Virtual workstation assessments are ideal for those who work from home. 

Remember, as an employer, you have the same responsibility to people working from home as office-based employees. A homeworking DSE assessment streamlines the process, allowing your business to achieve full compliance with HSE guidelines. 

Ergonomic assessments

Employees with underlying medical issues, backache, upper limb disorders or other needs requiring in-depth attention will benefit from an ergonomic assessment. This type of advanced assessment is carried out by a NEBOSH-qualified assessor and may take up to an hour. A detailed follow-up report includes actionable advice on risk mitigation and management.

Pregnant worker DSE assessments

As you may imagine, this type of workstation assessment is suited to a specific team member. Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body and expectant employees may need additional physical support. However, a pregnant worker DSE assessment also gives you the chance to care for and engage with your team member more effectively.

Choosing the right DSE assessment: areas to consider

Employees with an incorrect workstation setup are at risk of a host of discomforts. From eye strain, headaches and mental fatigue to neck ache, back pain, and wrist problems, these issues often worsen over time. 

Any DSE assessment should therefore cover four critical steps to identify risks before they become more significant injuries:

  1. Identify hazards: Including work equipment and the work environment and identify who they impact.
  2. Evaluate risks: How serious are they? Determine ways to eliminate or minimise them by undertaking a DSE assessment, improving equipment and providing training.
  3. Record and implement all findings and demonstrate how actionable advice has been implemented.
  4. Review and update your assessments regularly, at least annually or when guidelines dictate.

However, you also need to consider the size of your teams, their work environments and whether they need additional support. 

For example, are you arranging an annual DSE assessment across all your teams? An in-person or virtual DSE assessment ensures HSE compliance and delivers readily actionable advice from a fully-qualified assessor. 

Do you need workstation assessments for a specific reason, e.g. injury, pregnancy or because your staff members require additional support with ongoing conditions? A DSE assessment is part of your duty of care to ensure your staff feel cared for and valued. In addition, an ergonomic assessment provides employee comfort and ensures best practice.

Other factors to consider when choosing the correct DSE assessment for your workforce include the following:

  • Does your team all work in the same office space? 
  • What is your team size?
  • Will you handle DSE in-house or through a third-party provider?
  • Do your teams prefer a 1:1 approach or tech-based solutions?

Arrange a DSE assessment with Workhappy

At Workhappy, we deliver DSE assessments for the way your teams work, wherever they work. Contact us today to plan your next workstation assessment.