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DSE in ergonomics: promoting workplace health and safety

what is dse in ergonomics

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Table of contents:

1. Introduction

2. What is a DSE assessment?

2.1 Improved employee comfort and well-being

2.2 Enhanced productivity and efficiency

2.3 Reduction in absenteeism and sick leave

2.4 Prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)

2.5 Compliance with legal requirements and regulations

2.6 Identification of ergonomic risks and potential hazards

2.7 Implementation of appropriate corrective measures

2.8 Cost savings associated with reduced injuries and healthcare expenses

2.9 Increased employee satisfaction and morale

2.10 Creation of a culture of health and safety in the workplace

3. Ergonomic tips for DSE self-assessment

3.1 Evaluating workstation setup

3.2 Assessing seating and posture

3.3 Considering display screen equipment (monitor, keyboard, mouse)

3.4 Examining lighting and environmental factors

3.5 Seeking professional assistance as necessary

4. Training and education on DSE

5. The hidden costs of neglecting DSE ergonomics

6. Maximising workplace health through DSE ergonomics

Did you know that remote workers are found to spend approximately 13 hours staring at screens each day, which is more than twice the global average?

Unfortunately, Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is part of every office employee's life, contributing to potential health issues. 

Have you asked your employees if they experience any discomfort or health issues related to prolonged computer screen usage? It's essential to prioritise the well-being of your workforce and address any potential concerns they may have.

But what is DSE?

In this blog, you will discover what DSE is, DSE risk assessment, the costs of neglecting DSE ergonomics, and more.

What is a DSE assessment?

We have already mentioned what DSE stands for: "Display Screen Equipment."

It refers to equipment or devices with a visual display screen, such as computer monitors, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. DSE is commonly used in office settings and other work environments where employees spend significant time working on computers or similar electronic devices.

definition of dse ergonomics

DSE assessment is a process that involves evaluating and addressing the risks associated with using display screen equipment in the workplace.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, employers should take a comprehensive approach when assessing the well-being of their employees in relation to their workstations. This involves considering various factors such as equipment, furniture, and overall work conditions. 

 Here are the benefits of conducting a display screen equipment risk assessment:

Improved employee comfort and well-being

DSE workstation risk assessment can make your employees feel more comfortable and happy. You know, by looking at how high their chairs are, how their desks are set up, and where their screens are positioned, you can spot and fix things that might be causing discomfort or stress. That way, employees can keep a better posture, lower the chance of muscle problems, and generally work in a more comfortable space.

Enhanced productivity and efficiency

Display screen assessment can contribute to enhanced productivity and efficiency. Properly positioned screens, well-adjusted chairs, and adequate lighting can minimise distractions and fatigue, allowing employees to focus on their tasks and work more effectively.

Reduction in absenteeism and sick leave

By fixing ergonomic issues with DSE assessments, you can cut down on sick days and workers skipping work. When workstations are uncomfortable, or the equipment isn't set up right, it can make them feel achy, tired, and even get injured more often, which means they're more likely to call in sick. Nevertheless, doing regular DSE workstation assessments and making things right creates a healthier workplace and lowers the chances of work-related health problems.

DSE assessments are crucial in preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These disorders can result from repetitive tasks, poor posture, or improper workstation setup. By assessing the ergonomic factors associated with DSE use, you can identify and mitigate risks that may contribute to MSDs, thereby safeguarding the health and well-being of your staff.

improper dse ergonomics cause physical disorders among employees

When you conduct DSE assessments, you're making sure your company follows the law. Every location has its own set of guidelines and rules to follow. By doing these assessments, you show you're serious about meeting these legal obligations. That way, you can steer clear of any fines or legal troubles down the road.

Identification of ergonomic risks and potential hazards

Display screen evaluation helps identify ergonomic risks and potential hazards. By evaluating workstations, equipment, and work practices, you can identify potential issues that may pose risks to your staff's health and safety. This can include identifying poor posture habits, inadequate lighting, improper equipment setup, or other ergonomic concerns. Identifying these risks early on allows for timely corrective measures to be implemented.

Implementation of appropriate corrective measures

Implementing appropriate corrective measures based on DSE assessments is crucial for addressing identified risks. This may involve providing ergonomic equipment, offering training on proper workstation setup and posture, or making adjustments to the work environment.

Cost savings associated with reduced injuries and healthcare expenses

correct dse ergonomics reduces company healthcare expenses

Conducting DSE assessments and tackling ergonomic risks can actually save some dough. You see, by cutting down on work-related injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, and all the healthcare costs that come with them, you can keep their medical bills and insurance premiums in check. And here's the cool part: when things are set up ergonomically, employees work better and get more done. That means more productivity and efficiency.

Increased employee satisfaction and morale

DSE assessments really boost employee happiness and morale. When workers know that their comfort and well-being come first, it makes them way more satisfied with their jobs. They feel valued, motivated, and connected to a company that puts their health and safety first. It's all about keeping everyone engaged, happy, and loyal to the organisation.

Creation of a culture of health and safety in the workplace

Accomplishing DSE assessments is all about building a workplace culture that's all about health and safety. When you consistently check and fix ergonomic issues, you show you're serious about making the workspace safe and healthy. This creates a positive vibe where your staff feels appreciated, taken care of, and supported in their overall well-being. It's about creating a place where everyone feels valued and looked after.

Don't forget that your remote workers also face similar risks when it comes to DSE use. That's why it's essential to conduct DSE assessments for them, too. 

We offer Individual Virtual Ergonomic Assessment, a one-to-one ergonomics evaluation either in person or over video conferencing with our highly experienced Ergonomists. Book an evaluation today!

Ergonomic tips for DSE self-assessment

ergonomic tips for dse self-assessment

How often DSE assessments are conducted may vary based on the specific requirements of your company and your employees, but employee involvement in the assessment process is always vital. 

They offer valuable insights based on their firsthand experience, fostering ownership and engagement. By actively involving them in DSE workstation exercises, you can better understand individual needs and customise ergonomic solutions.

The following are some helpful ergonomic tips your employees can consider in conducting a DSE workstation setup self-assessment:

Evaluating workstation setup

  • The desk surface allows you to place the monitor in front of you, at least 20 inches away.
  • The desk accommodates a variety of working postures.
  • There is no clutter below the desk (e.g., CPU, boxes, etc.) because it could consume the space for your legs and chair positioning.
  • The desk height provides adequate clearance for your legs and your chair.

Read further information about ergonomic workstations on our blog.

Assessing seating and posture

  • You can raise or lower the chair to position your arms at a 90-degree angle.
  • The chair is wide enough to provide comfortable, uniform pressure across the entire seat and permit posture adjustments. The width is between 17 and 20 inches.
  • The armrests give support and distribute it equally across the arms.
  • The chair has a lumbar support that allows your lower back to arch slightly.
  • The chair's backrest is strong, and there are no pressure points that prevent your blood from flowing.
  • It has an adjustable and lockable backrest.

For more information about an ergonomic chair, check out our blog that shares tips on choosing the right one.

Considering display screen equipment (monitor, keyboard, mouse)

consider display screen ergonomics at work
  • If you use a laptop as your primary computer, it is set up with the same ergonomic principles as desktop computers. 
  • You use a separate keyboard and mouse.
  • It should be raised to eye level.

Examining lighting and environmental factors

  • The brightness level and light colour should be appropriate for your tasks.
  • The lamp shouldn't flicker.
  • There is no direct glare on your computer screen coming from your lamp.
  • The brightness level is adjustable.
  • Task lighting on the documents you work on does not cause glare on the monitor.

Click the link to find more detailed information on the significance of ergonomic lighting.

Seeking professional assistance as necessary

Professional ergonomists can utilise a comprehensive auditing checklist to ensure a thorough evaluation of the workplace. They can help optimise the DSE self-assessment you conducted and assist you in achieving optimal ergonomic conditions.

Ergonomists can provide valuable insights, recommend specific adjustments or improvements, and help you create a workspace for your employees that promotes comfort, productivity, and overall well-being. 

Training and education on DSE

training and education on dse ergonomics
  • Importance of educating employees on ergonomic principles: This ensures they understand the importance of maintaining proper posture, using ergonomic equipment, and taking regular breaks to prevent discomfort and musculoskeletal issues.
  • Providing training sessions on DSE best practices: Offering training sessions on DSE best practices involves equipping your employees with the knowledge and skills to set up their workstations ergonomically, adjust seating and monitor height, position input devices correctly, and make necessary ergonomic modifications. 
  • Promoting awareness of potential health risks associated with poor ergonomics: This involves educating your employees about the adverse effects of improper posture, repetitive motions, and prolonged periods of sedentary work. 
  • Encouraging ongoing learning and improvement: This entails fostering a culture of continuous growth and development in ergonomic practices. It involves providing opportunities for your employees to expand their knowledge through workshops, webinars, or resources that focus on the latest ergonomic guidelines, technologies, and solutions. Don't look further; book Ergonomic Trainings with us!

The hidden costs of neglecting DSE ergonomics

  • Increased risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs): Neglecting DSE ergonomics can lead to an increased risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) for employees.
  • Higher incidence of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs): Poor DSE ergonomics can contribute to a higher incidence of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). Tasks that involve repetitive motions or awkward postures, combined with inadequate ergonomic setups, can strain tendons, muscles, and nerves.
  • Reduced productivity and efficiency: Neglecting DSE ergonomics can result in reduced productivity and efficiency. Discomfort and pain caused by poor workstation setups can lead to distractions, decreased focus, and slower task completion, ultimately impacting overall productivity and performance.
improper dse ergonomics reduces productivity and efficiency
  • A decline in employee well-being and job satisfaction: Employees who experience discomfort and pain due to poor DSE ergonomics are likely to have a decline in well-being and job satisfaction. 
  • Elevated absenteeism and sick leave rates: Neglecting DSE ergonomics can contribute to elevated absenteeism and sick leave rates. Employees experiencing work-related discomfort or pain may be more likely to take sick days to recover or seek medical attention, resulting in increased absenteeism.
  • Greater likelihood of workplace accidents and injuries: Poor DSE ergonomics can increase the likelihood of workplace accidents and injuries. Awkward postures, inadequate lighting, or poorly positioned equipment can create hazards that may lead to accidents, slips, trips, or falls.
  • Increased workers' compensation claims and costs: Neglecting DSE ergonomics can have detrimental effects, which can lead to a rise in workers' compensation claims and associated costs.
  • Negative impact on employee morale and motivation: Employees experiencing discomfort and pain due to poor ergonomic conditions are likely to have lower morale and motivation.
  • Higher employee turnover rates: Poor DSE ergonomics can contribute to higher employee turnover rates as employees seek opportunities with better ergonomic conditions, resulting in increased recruitment and training costs.
  • Legal liabilities and potential penalties: Non-compliance with ergonomic regulations can expose organisations to legal liabilities and potential penalties. Jurisdictions have specific guidelines in place to protect workers, and failure to comply can cause legal consequences and damage to the organisation's reputation.

Addressing DSE ergonomics requirements and prioritising ergonomic setups can help mitigate these hidden costs, fostering a healthier and more productive work environment. 

Maximising workplace health through DSE ergonomics

dse ergonomics maximises employee health and well-being

DSE ergonomics encompasses the considerations and measures taken to address not only physical comfort but also eye health in the workplace. By ensuring proper monitor positioning, appropriate lighting, and regular breaks for eye rest, DSE ergonomics assessment aims to minimise eye strain and promote optimal visual health for employees who spend significant time working with display screen equipment.

HR professionals and managers should take proactive measures in addressing DSE ergonomics to prioritise employee health because it not only demonstrates a commitment to their well-being but also helps prevent work-related injuries and health issues, resulting in reduced absenteeism, improved productivity, and a positive work environment.

We can help you identify and reduce ergonomic risk factors with cost-effective workplace improvements. Contact us about Ergonomic Program Management today!