DSE-Workstation Risk Assessments
1. DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment. Key Features:
Thorough ergonomic DSE Workstation assessments performed by qualified and experienced Occupational Health Specialist Practitioners.
Help you to avoid or alleviate discomfort, pain or even musculoskeletal injury caused to your employee by the work that they do.
A structured document workflow generates an audit trail of evidence that you have demonstrated your duty of care to identify and control for work related health, safety and welfare risks to your employee.
Proven processes for effective remote assessments (e.g., for your homeworkers) as well as assessments at your site.
2. DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment. Step by Step Guide:
Click on a step below to view more detail.
You should request a DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment when:
- A new employee starts work.
- A workstation is set-up or at the start of homeworking.
- An existing workstation is changed.
- An employee complains of discomfort or pain.
In addition, employees are often referred to Work Wellness for a DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment because our OH practitioners also need to consider a long-term health condition such as:
- An injury.
- A genetic or progressive musculoskeletal condition.
- Heightened sensitivity to distractions, noise or certain lights around their workstation.
Follow the flow chart below to decide how to request a DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment. Basically:
- If any health information is likely to be declared or processed (which is likely if your employee has a long-term health condition) then request the assessment using two separate forms; the occupational health assessment referral form and the employee consent form.
- If you are confident that no health information is likely to be declared or processed then request the assessment using a simplified work risk assessment referral form.
You complete the referral form, obtain your employee’s consent and email the form(s) back to us.
Returning the referral form in good time is crucial to the quality of the assessment:
The referral / consent form must be returned to Work Wellness at least 5 working days prior to the appointment, to allow sufficient time to:
- Agree the calendar appointment with your employee.
- Request and receive photographs from your employee.
- Research and prepare for the DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment.
Arranging the appointment:
We can arrange the DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment appointment directly with your employee. We will provide them with candidate calendar slots, agree the slot most convenient to them, issue a calendar invite for the agreed slot and receive your employee’s acceptance of the invite.
Alternatively, you may choose to arrange the DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment appointment between Work Wellness and your employee, in which case we will offer you 3 candidate appointment slots to agree with your employee. You may choose this option:
- In order to retain overall control over the process (e.g., to minimise the risk of ’employee did not attend’).
- For the first one or two referrals until you are comfortable with the process.
A DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment appointment will normally last for 60 minutes.
Homeworker DSE-Workstation Risk Assessments are conducted remotely via video conference.
Employer’s site DSE-Workstation Risk Assessments can be conducted physically present or remotely.
Whoever arranges the DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment appointment should also request that your employee sends photos of their DSE-Workstation configuration to Work Wellness, to be with us at least 1 working day prior to the appointment. Such photos should show:
- The worksurface capturing the normal position of all equipment when in use.
- Close ups of equipment (e.g., to assess the legibility of keyboard characters, the adjustment mechanisms available on the chair, desk, display screen, etc).
- Normal working posture and body positioning (position of feet on the ground, alignment of eyes to display screen, distance from body to mouse and keyboard).
- Wider working environment, checking for overloaded sockets, wiring and other trip hazards.
- Day time / night time light sources.
We will prepare in advance of the DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment appointment by analysing the photographs for the information they do and do not provide about the DSE-Workstation configuration and where it might be necessary to focus time and attention during the assessment.
The Work Wellness practitioner normally starts the DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment by explaining the next steps in the process and answering any questions from the employee. This is a key step in the process, where we establish a rapport, gain trust and encourage open and reliable disclosure of information.
The Work Wellness practitioner:
- Establishes what your employee’s job involves and how they physically perform it, paying particular attention to any risk factors such as; posture, load, repetition, tools and the wider office environment such as glare, temperature, draughts and mobility / trip hazards.
- Considers any complex needs, disabilities and / or mobility problems with the aim of enabling everybody, irrespective of their needs and disability, to succeed in their job.
- Quickly assimilates and assesses many relevant features of the DSE-workstation and the wider working environment.
For homeworker / remote assessments the practitioner:
- Will be asking your employee to be the observer. Asking them to describe how they physically move to carry out their work and to describe any discomfort or pain they experience. The practitioner is experienced in eliciting balanced and accurate feedback. Evidence based questioning and non-judgemental listening helps avoid subconscious “response bias”.
- Will also explore and assess feelings of isolation, opportunities for social interaction and the availability of help should the homeworker suffer an accident or illness.
Advise and Adjust
The Work Wellness practitioner will:
- Make any necessary adjustments to the positioning of display screen equipment, chair, desk and office environment relative to the employee’s physical needs and shape.
- Discuss and agree physical adjustments (e.g., to chair, display screen, keyboard/mouse, desk, lighting, ventilation, mobility and safety hazards, etc) to optimise the working environment relative to the employee’s body size, shape and mobility levels.
- Ask “lateral” questions of homeworkers about other items of household furniture which could be used to configure a more comfortable and safer workspace.
- Help ensure the employee knows how to make such future adjustments themselves to maintain their optimum working environment, particularly important where the employee is working in a flexible office environment.
- Provide jargon free personalised advice on how to vary the work routine, frequency and duration of work breaks, posture and reasonable exercise regimes.
- Confirm with the employee that they understand the advice and information provided to them.
After the assessment you will receive a DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment Report which:
- Compares your employee’s equipment, their knowledge of how configure the equipment and their working environment to:
- Details any adjustments made by the practitioner and the advice provided to your employee.
- Recommends the provision, replacement or modification of equipment and the wider office environment.
If you requested the DSE-Workstation Assessment as part of an Occupational Health Referral then:
- The report may also recommend special / ergonomic equipment to help your employee better cope with long-term health condition(s).
- The Fitness for Work Assessment report may also include recommendations for improving your employee’s musculoskeletal health, e.g., physiotherapy, exercise regimes, etc.
This type of information is likely to be sensitive so we follow General Medical Council guidelines to ensure confidentiality. Further details of these guidelines can be found on the Occupational Health Standards page in the section entitled “Data Protection”.
The report should be a valuable source of information to help you decide how to manage your employee, their performance and the risks to their health and safety. It might form the basis of an action plan agreed between you and your employee. See the Occupational Health Standards page for advice on “How to Use Your Occupational Health Report”.
3. DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment. Step by Step Average Timeline:
4. DSE-Workstation Risk Assessment. Why Invest:
Protect. The costs of getting it wrong:
The 2019 Labour Force Survey found that 29% of lost working days are caused by work related musculoskeletal disorders.
A HSE sponsored survey of work related ill-health records maintained by GPs from 2005 to 2015, found that the majority suffered with back pain or disorders with the hand, wrist or arm and that the main cause was repetitive movement at work.
A separate survey of employees with musculoskeletal conditions found that more than two-thirds (68%) said their occupation was a contributing factor and a third (33%) said their employer was aware of their condition, but had failed to provide adequate support.
A 2018 survey of homeworkers found that 58% received no guidance from their employer on how to set up a workstation to support healthy posture and over two thirds reported new pain since working from home.
This creates a risk of legal claims under regulations including the Equality Act (2010) and The Health and Safety Regulations (1992). Successful claims in 2019 averaged £28,371 and the largest was £416,015.
- The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992. Para. 2–3.
- Display screen equipment (DSE) workstation checklist. Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 2013.