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Date of this issue: November 2008

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1 Date of this issue: November 2008
Display Screen Equipment (DSE) self-directed learning package for users. Version 2 Date of this issue: November 2008

2 Welcome and aims As someone who uses a computer for part of your job, please work your way through this self-directed (computer based) learning package prior to undertaking the DSE self-assessment. Aims Awareness of hazards and risks associated with DSE use Knowledge on how to avoid future injury/health problems. Knowledge and ability on how to set up and organise a DSE workstations including safe/ergonomic use of portable DSE

3 What is Display Screen Equipment?
The definition of DSE is not limited to typical office situations consisting of computers, laptops and related technologies (i.e. handheld devices like blackberries) but also covers, for example, non-electronic display systems such as microfiche. This training programme applies to the whole workstation (chair, monitor, keyboard, desk, etc.), your job and your work environment.

4 DSE use For those of us who use DSE for work, we can spend a large part of our working day sitting at the computer in the same position using a limited number of muscles and movements. Problems can occur from the following: Adopting awkward postures Carrying out repetitive movements Using forceful movements Lack of movement (static position) Infrequent rest breaks or changes in position Psychological issues (e.g. work load pressures) Inadequate workstation design/ layout for you (e.g. causing twisting, stooping, stretching, etc…)

5 “Only a small portion of DSE users actually suffer ill health as a result of their work. Where problems do occur, they are generally caused by the way in which the DSE is being used, rather than the DSE itself”. Therefore, problems can be avoided by good workplace and job design, and by the way you use your DSE and workstation” Therefore, the purpose of this package is to provide you with information on how to use and set up your workstation to ensure your safety and comfort!

6 Completing your DSE Self-Assessment
Please complete the DSE self-assessment form and return it to your local DSE Assessor. This PowerPoint presentation follows the same subject areas as the self-assessment and gives important information and hints to help you manage your workspace. User profile Answer 'yes' or 'no' to the 5 statements listed and circle whichever is representative of your work with DSE. If you answer 'yes' to 2 or less of the statements: We do not classify you as a defined ‘user’ of DSE (as stipulated in the DSE Regulations), however you must complete this package, as it will give you useful guidance on the ergonomics of your workstation. It will take about 10 minutes to complete. You should still return the completed form to your local DSE assessor. If you answer 'yes' to 3 or more of the statements: We do recognise you as a defined ‘user’ of DSE. Please continue with the assessment. It will take you about 10 minutes to complete. You may also be eligible to a funded eyesight test from an optician.

7 Seating It is important that the chair has both an adjustable backrest and seat to ensure a comfortable, ergonomic posture. Poor posture over a long period of time can result in back or neck ache. There is a natural forward curve of the spine in the neck and lower back regions. These natural curves are maintained when you sit up straight with your shoulders back. Correct seat adjustment will help you with this. If you hunch or slouch forward, the normal curves of your back will be lost. It is important that the height of the backrest is adjusted so that it fits into the natural hollow of your lower back. The backrest should be tilted slightly backwards from the vertical.

8 Seating The optimum seat height is the distance from the back of your knee to the floor when your feet are flat on the ground. If the seat is too high, trouble may occur because of excess pressure on the underside of your thighs. Your feet must be flat on the floor directly below your knees. If this is not feasible, you will need a foot rest. The arms should be bent at right angles or lower at the keyboard - this position reduces strain on the arms whilst typing.

9 Screen and Keyboard It is important that your screen is separate from your keyboard so that they can both be adjusted independently. The keyboard may be adjusted so that you can rest your wrists on the surface of the desk when not typing. The screen may have to be adjusted so that glare or reflections do not interfere with your task. The keyboard should have an adjustable tilt below the left and right hand corners. It should be adjusted so that you can work with a minimum of deviation at the wrist. Whilst typing it is optimal that the wrists remain straight.

10 Screen and Keyboard You may need a wrist support, which will allow you to rest your wrists in between periods of typing, thus reducing strain and fatigue. These supports are not generally recommended by Safety, Health and Welling (SHAW) - if you feel it may be of benefit - you should contact an Occupational Health Adviser on (01922)

11 Screen, and Keyboard Keyboards with glossy finishes might create glare that may disturb your work. A matt finish is preferred. Ensure that the height of the top edge of the monitor is at your eye level when correctly seated. Remember to adjust the screen throughout the day (as the position of the sun changes, or as lights are turned on). You may even need to move your desk or buy an anti-reflection or glare screen. It is advisable that you consult your immediate line manager/ DSE assessor about this.

12 Mouse Your mouse should slide freely and should be a comfortable fit in the palm of your hand. You should keep your arm as near to your body when using the mouse. Are you left-handed? - Is your mouse left handed and configured appropriately too?

13 Desk Each question in this section points you towards a solution for each item. If you cannot resolve these problems yourselves, raise them initially with your line manager, so that desk height problems, shelving and storage problems can be rectified soon. Workstation layout Place monitor directly in front of you To create space, consider placing base unit on floor Place telephone to side of non-dominant hand Use document holder to keep documents upright (It is important that you have a document holder available if you do large amounts of copy typing, so you can maintain a comfortable posture and avoid frequent twisting movements. It should be placed near to the screen, in the same field of vision as the DSE screen).

14 Task organisation & software, lighting, environmental controls and health
Long periods of consecutive work may be hazardous, especially if combined with poor workspace design. Although there are no precise guidelines as to how long may be spent at the screen, it is advisable that typing be broken up with other tasks. You should not work continuously on your DSE for long periods of time. The need for breaks will depend on the nature and intensity of the work. Short, frequent breaks are more satisfactory than occasional, longer breaks: for example a 5-10 minute break after minutes continuous screen and/or keyboard work is likely to be better than a minute break every 2 hours. These work breaks must allow you to change your posture. Looking at the screen will concentrate your gaze on near vision - which is the opposite of the eyes natural state of relaxation. It is therefore important to look away from the screen at regular intervals. Focusing your eyes in the distance will relax them. Noise is a hazard of our busy working environments, but excessive noise from printers, fax machines and shredders for example may seriously disturb your work. Try to site machinery away from the desk areas.

15 Task organisation & software, lighting, environmental controls and health
Poor control of office temperature and general lighting can lead you to feel tired and uncomfortable. There is only a minimum office temperature of 16°C (measured one hour into the work day). There is no maximum. General levels of light should be sufficient to allow your normal range of activities without providing sources of glare to your monitor screens. Task lighting is locally directed lighting to help you concentrate on specific desk based jobs, such as an angle poise lamp. You may only need these in certain conditions or for particular projects. Please remember to comply with your locations testing requirements for portable electrical equipment when purchasing task lights.

16 Portable Display Screen Equipment

17 Portable DSE The Health & Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations do apply to portable DSE in prolonged use. Portable DSE includes: laptops; notebook computers; handheld computers; personal digital assistant devices, and; some portable communications devices. Such as mobile phones and personal organisers that can be used to compose and edit text, view images or connect to the Internet (mobile phones only used for prolonged conversations are not subject to the DSE Regulations). Any prolonged use of such devices for work purposes will need to be individually assessed (see further slides for details).

18 What is prolonged use? To assess whether you are using portable DSE for prolonged periods, your DSE assessor and line manager can use the ‘user’ classification statements on the beginning of the DSE self-assessment form.

19 Working with portable DSE
An increasing number of people are using portable DSE as part of their work. Portables are designed to be compact and easy to carry. These design features (such as smaller keyboards, smaller screen, lack of screen/keyboard separation) may make it more difficult to achieve a comfortable and ergonomic working posture, as they usually lead the user to work with their head and shoulders bent forward, adopting awkward arm, wrist and hands. In addition to this, portables are likely to be used in a wider range of environments with are poorly suited to DSE work, such as trains, cars, etc…which are often space constricted resulting in the user being unable to work comfortably and ergonomically for any lengthy period of time.

20 Reducing risks The best thing to do, is not use laptops unless necessary (for example, you require a laptop because you work in different locations). “It is best to avoid using a portable on its own if full-sized equipment is available. And like other DSE users, people who habitually use a portable should be trained how to minimise risks. This includes sitting comfortably, angling the screen so it can be seen clearly with minimal reflections, and taking frequent breaks if work is prolonged. Wherever possible, portables should be placed on a firm surface at the right height for keying.” (Health & Safety Executive guidance)

21 Assessment Risk assessment for users of portables can be a challenge, as it is clearly not practicable to use an independent assessor to analyse each location where work may take place as a user travels around with their portable DSE. Either of the two following assessment options should be undertaken for portable DSE used for prolonged periods: If you use the portable for lengthy or repeated use in the same location, you must complete the DSE self-assessment form. In this instance you must have a docking station provided! 2. If you use portable DSE at a variety of locations, then you must undertake a dynamic risk assessments of the environment and workstation you are going to use, and ensure that you setup the workstation in accordance with the information detailed within this self-directed learning package (for example, setting up the seating and work surface to prevent awkward/poor postures). This dynamic assessment is not written down!

22 Laptops Whenever working with portable DSE, especially laptops, the important factor is to avoid poor posture. To achieve this: sit comfortably and ergonomically (as mentioned at the beginning of this presentation for a desk top computer). Wherever possible an adjustable chair should be used, so that the lower part of the back is supported by the back rest. Where this is not possible, a non-adjustable chair can be used with a cushion or pillow to support your back. The chair height is also important because your forearm should be horizontal when the hands are on the keyboard. Again, cushions can be used to vary the seat height. Sitting either too high or too low will lead to the wrists being in a bent/ awkward position. angle the screen so that it can be seen easily with no/minimal reflections and at a good viewing distance that is comfortable. The screen should be directly in front of you. Do not sit forward in a hunched up position and avoid slouching. Use on a firm surface at the right height for keying (don’t use on your lap). If the laptop mouse is to be used then make sure the hand is kept flat and the fingers are relaxed when using the trackball/ glide pad. If using a laptop for prolonged use, a separate mouse should be used. Take frequent breaks.

23 Laptops (continued…) Many hotels have designated laptop areas, so use these where possible. Do not use a laptop when lying on the bed. This causes strain to the neck and back. If on the train, use the seats with communal tables provided. Laptops should not be used in cars. If this is unavoidable: Make sure you are legally parked with the engine switched off. Sit in the passenger seat and place on top of the briefcase. Sit upright with the seat pushed well back. Limit the time you use the laptop (this should only be done for a short duration) When carrying the laptop, use luggage with wheels or case with shoulder strap. If using a portable at home it is important to find a suitable place to work. Sitting on the edge of the sofa or armchair is not suitable because of the posture it causes you to adopt.

24 Portable DSE - Blackberries
Blackberries do not need a DSE self-assessment UNLESS used habitually for prolonged periods at work. They are of a small design which can place strain on the thumbs if used frequently for prolonged periods of time. Don’t use for extended periods of time Don’t use when a fixed computer workstation or phone is available Don’t use when driving Keep messages as short as possible Flex muscles frequently

25 Eye tests – for defined ‘users’ only
In order to get an eyesight test funded by Walsall Council users must complete the eyesight section on the back of an ‘expenses and subsistence claim form’, which is available from the intranet. With your manager's authorising signature you can get an optician's eyesight test from 4Sight, Saddlers Centre, Walsall. If you choose to go to another optician, you will have to get a receipt and claim the expense back - up to the same limit as the 4sight eye sight test. If your optician believes you require a prescription for display screen work (which is quite rare), Walsall Council will contribute a sum of money which will pay for a basic pair of spectacles Designer frames and other lens treatments are at your expense. The current payment limits for both eyesight tests and prescription spectacles charges are detailed on the back of the expenses form and are not negotiable.

26 If you have an queries about your DSE workstation, please raise them on your DSE self-assessment form. Your local DSE Assessor will review your form and discuss any action points with you. Should you have any issues about your health and safety, please notify your line manager. Thank you for your time in completing this self-directed learning package. Please review this package whenever you review or complete a new DSE self-assessment!

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