Referral for DSE-Workstation Risk Assessments
1. 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. Step by step guide.
Click on a step below to view more detail.
1. When to refer?
You should undertake a DSE 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 because our OH practitioners also need to consider:
- An injury.
- A genetic or progressive musculoskeletal condition.
- Heightened sensitivity to distractions, noise or certain lights.
We provide you with 2 documents designed to make the referral as straightforward as possible:
Management Referral Form.
For you to complete. The referral form has been designed to elicit information about the employee, job demands, reason for the assessment, the history of any relevant conditions and their impact upon the employee’s normal working patterns and performance.
Employee Consent Form.
For you to ask your employee to sign and date. When obtaining your employee’s consent to the referral you should:
- Confirm / explain the reason for the referral.
- Allow your employee to see the completed Management Referral Form and provide them with a copy.
You then email the two completed documents back to us.
The assessment appointment will normally be for 60 minutes.
Homeworker assessments are conducted remotely via video conference. Assessments at your site can be conducted physically present or remotely.
In advance of remote assessments we will request photographs of your employee’s DSE-Workstation arrangement including:
- 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.
The Work Wellness practitioner normally starts the 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 report containing:
- An assessment of the DSE-Workstation equipment relative to minimum required standards and any health conditions and specific needs of your employee.
- Details of the adjustments made by the practitioner and the advice provided to the employee.
- Where appropriate:
- Recommendations for providing, replacing or modifying equipment and the wider office environment.
- Recommendations for improving musculoskeletal health such as physiotherapy, exercise regimes, etc.
If your employee has a health condition which affects their performance or which requires specific adjustments or equipment then this will also be contained in the report. 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 “What Adjustments are Reasonable?”.
3. Step by step average timeline.
Day -3 Identify referral reason
Step 1: You decide to refer
Day 0 Gather information
Step 2: You make the referral
Allow 3 working days to make the referral, it is normally a straightforward task to:
- Collate and capture the information necessary to complete the Referral Form.
- Obtain your employee's consent to the referral.
Day 7 Arrange appointment
Step 3: Work Wellness conduct the assessment
- Within 2 working days of referral we will be in contact to arrange an appointment. We usually offer 3 appointment slots over the following 10 working days. Your employee is almost always able to accept one of them. For remote assessments we can utilise the time prior to the appointment by requesting photos of the workstation set up.
- We are very flexible, it is not unusual for us to arrange the appointment in advance of the referral. We just need the Forms at least 1 working day prior to the appointment to give us time to adequately prepare.
Day 10 Write report
Step 4: Work Wellness report back to you
- We aim to release the report within 3 working days of the assessment.
- If your employee requests advance sight of the report then we allow them 2 working days to provide us with consent to release the report to you. If they have not consented within 2 working days we issue a reminder and allow a further working day. If we have still not received consent then we escalate to you for resolution.
- If your employee requests changes to the report then we aim to release the report to you within a further 3 working days. Its is usually sooner but there are instances when changes are only agreed after some discussion.
4. 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.