Display Screen Equipment Assessments Explained (DSE Training)

A DSE assessment looks at the use of display screen equipment (DSE) to identify the hazards users face when working with screens. This includes office work and those who work from home.

Don’t let the name fool you, though. It may be called a display screen equipment, assessment, but the process reviews not just how DSE is used but how it’s arranged on a workstation, along with the conditions employees face while working with it.

And it’s essential to do this because improper use of DSE and poorly designed workstations are recognised health risks. And where there’s a health risk at work, employers are obligated to manage it. The first step? A DSE assessment.

If you’re an employer or work with DSE for at least an hour a day, you need to know what a DSE assessment is, how to do one and when they’re needed. Read our guide to learn how to keep compliant and prevent harm from unsafe DSE use.

Why Do You Need a DSE Assessment?

Adherence to the Law

The Display Screen Regulations 2007, Right to request remote working and Worklife Balance, places a legal duty on employers.

The DSE Regulations cover the safe use of display screen equipment at work( Working from home). DSE is any device with a screen that displays numbers, letters, or images, including:

  • Computer monitors
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets

Suppose you fail to comply with the DSE Regulations. In that case, you may be subject to legal action from the Health and Safety Executive (HSA). You will also expose yourself and your organisation to claims for failing to adequately protect your staff.

Beyond compliance, assessments are a critical health and safety tool that help keep display screen equipment users healthy, happy, and productive.

DSE Training

Employers are responsible for the health risks that may occur when employees work with display screen equipment. ComplyPro Health and Safety consultants can provide essential knowledge to your team. This will equip workers to get them familiarise with physical and psychological hazards that may arise from the continuous use of display screens.

Preventing Health Risks

If you are an employer, you also have a moral duty to conduct a DSE Assessment. Prolonged periods of sitting, poor posture, or the improper use of DSE carry significant health risks, including:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders – conditions affecting muscles, tendons, joints, spinal discs and nerves.
  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI) – a specific type of musculoskeletal disorder that usually affects the upper limbs.
  • Eye strain
  • Mental stress

Many of these health issues are linked to the prolonged periods of sitting associated with DSE use and poor posture from poorly designed workstations.

Performing a DSE workstation assessment is the first step to fixing these issues and keeping workers healthy. It identifies the potential risks employees face with their DSE setup and what must be done to address them.

Where Are DSE Assessments Needed?

DSE assessments are needed wherever someone uses display screen equipment for more than one solid hour daily.

And this doesn’t just apply to office-based workers. The DSE Regulations apply if the user is working:

  • At a dedicated workstation
  • Flexibly or at home (regardless of who provides the DSE)
  • At a shared workstation
  • Across various workstations as available (i.e., hot-desking)

When Do You Need to Conduct a DSE Assessment?

A DSE workstation assessment should be done before a user starts working with a DSE setup. This way, risks can be noted and controlled before they harm the user.

Fresh assessments should also happen when there are:

  • Changes to the established workstation
  • Changes to business operations or procedures
  • Complaints made of pain or discomfort due to workstation design/DSE use.

Outside of these stipulations, it’s generally good practice to repeat assessments at least once a year, even if nothing’s changed. As with all health and safety measures, you must stick with them to make them work.

Who Can Conduct a DSE Assessment?

The responsibility to assess workstations and DSE use falls on the employer. But this doesn’t strictly mean they’re the ones who conduct them.

As with other types of risk assessments, employers can assign this duty to others if those individuals have the necessary knowledge, training, and experience.

This allowance means you can have in-house personnel perform assessments, potentially saving time and money. You’ll have to provide sufficient training first.

The DSE user should also contribute to the assessment process in some capacity, regardless of who the assessor is. This involvement is needed because each assessment must address the specific needs of the user, which will vary from person to person.

The HSA recommends users complete a DSE Checklist, as part of the overall assessment procedure. The assessor can then use the checklist to inform their final analysis. Involving the user in this way also helps them buy into the process, making them more likely to follow any health and safety recommendations.

However, before a user can participate in the assessment process, they must have received basic awareness training on DSE and the associated risks and safe working practices. (Providing this training is a requirement under the DSE Regulations anyway, so this shouldn’t be an issue.)


Some DSE assessments can be performed by users themselves. Self-assessments are arguably more straightforward than third-party assessments. They should also be more specific to the user and their interaction with DSE. You must remember a competent person must then assess the self-assessment to ensure everything is correct and that the staff member is aware of all points relating to their DSE work.

How Do You Conduct a DSE Assessment?

Whoever does the assessment must remember to look at more than just the display screen equipment.

You need to study every part of the workstation and consider how the user interacts with it to spot every risk. The HSA stipulates that you consider the following:

  • The entire workstation – including equipment, furniture, software, and work environment.
  • Organisational and individual factors – including workload, schedules, and the specific needs of the user.

In practice, this means you’ll need to review the following:

  • Screens
  • Keyboards
  • Mouse
  • Chairs
  • Desks
  • Lighting conditions
  • Temperature
  • Noise levels
  • Anything else that might affect a user’s ability to use DSE safely and comfortably.

Once you’re confident you’ve fully assessed every risk to the DSE user, you need to address each of them. As with other health and safety risks, the goal should be eliminating hazards. If that’s unrealistic, you must implement measures to control them. Contact ComplyPro today for assistance in ensuring you are meeting your legal obligations.