What is a Workstation Assessment?

What is a Workstation Assessment?

A Workstation Assessment is usually another term for a DSE Risk Assessment or an Ergonomic Assessment.

workstation assessmentA Workstation/DSE Risk Assessment is essential for anyone who uses Display Screen Equipment (DSE) as part of their job. The are also known as DSE Self-assessments or VDU (Visual Display Unit) Assessments.

H & S Legislation

Current legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states that the employer has a responsibility to make the workplace safe for their employees.

Apart from their legal duty, working practices that risk causing injury or prevent recovery in an injured worker affect productivity of an overall workforce.

A DSE Risk Assessment is required for each worker under the DSE Regulations 1992/2002. The DSE Risk Assessment will review all of the tasks performed at the DSE workstation. It is a process to identify risks that may affect the health of the user. It includes looking at the keyboard, mouse, display screen, desk, chair, footrest and the working environment.

The HSE website has an Office Risk Assessment Tool. There is information about a DSE Risk Assessment and a DSE Risk Assessment Checklist.

A DSE Risk Assessment is essentially an Ergonomic Assessment.

Definition of Ergonomics

The definition of Ergonomics by the UK Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (CIEHF) is:

“Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance.” International Ergonomics Association 

The terms ‘ergonomics’ and ‘human factors’ can be used interchangeably, although ‘ergonomics’ is often used in relation to the physical aspects of the environment, such as workstations and control panels. ‘Human factors’ is often used in relation to wider system in which people work.

Ergonomics is matching the job to the worker and the product to the user. See the HSE information about Human Factors & Ergonomics. 

Performing a Workstation DSE Risk Assessment

Some employers conduct their own DSE Risk Assessments, possibly using paperwork from HSE. They may have their own policy regarding DSE and their own trained assessors. Some assessments can be conducted electronically using videos to educate users to complete their own DSE Risk Assessment, known as self-assessment.

A DSE Risk Assessment includes a checklist of all aspects of the office workstation. There are various checklists available but it is necessary to ensure that the checklist covers all aspects of the workstation and environment.

A DSE Risk Assessment should not just be a ‘tick box’ exercise. Poorly set up workstations can lead to pain in the back, neck, shoulder and arms. Also fatigue and eyestrain. Therefore the assessment should be conducted at least once a year.

After the Workstation Assessment

Once the Workstation/DSE Risk Assessment has been completed, recommendations are made. The individual may need the following actions:

  • A footrest
  • A monitor riser
  • Move the monitor(s) touching centrally
  • A platform for paperwork over the keyboard
  • Conduct a more in-depth Ergonomic Assessment with a specialist assessor if they cannot get comfortable or they have medical needs

Healthywork DSE Risk Assessment

We have developed a detailed DSE Risk Assessment checklist. This includes all of the basic information usually included on a checklist (under the DSE Regulations 2002 from HSE) but also additional best practice ergonomic advice. It includes educating and training each individual user so they are knowledgeable about their personal requirements.

Our DSE Risk Assessment will provide to each individual:

  • A hand-out to help with setting up the workstation in the correct order. The hand-out is a good memory aid for future setting up. Get the upper body at the correct sitting height before considering the footrest or desk height requirements.
  • Education about what good posture really is, what it feels like and why they need to achieve this.
  • Show what adjustments  are available on their office chair. Also what they need for their own dimensions. Lumbar height and seat depth etc.
  • How to make the adjustments including practical tips. eg use reams of paper as a footrest or under a monitor as a temporary solution. Set up ‘single click’ on the mouse to reduce risk of RSI in the wrist.
  • Encourage them to stop ‘bad habits’ such as trapping their wrists or bending forwards!
  • Advice about microbreaks and rest breaks

What equipment is included under DSE?

Display Screen Equipment is any screen that displays information. the most common DSE includes monitors, laptops, tablets and smartphone.

A DSE Risk Assessment is required for anyone who uses a screen device from as little as 15-30 minutes per day, or any use where the set up is not ideal for their needs and requires review, is causing health difficulties, including aches and pains.

Reasonable Adjustments

More than a Risk Assessment is required, when an individual has medical requirements. The Equality Act 2010  states that the employer has a responsibility to make the workplace safe for their employees and to implement Reasonable Adjustments.

sit and stand desk ergonomic assessmentIn this instance we have defined this as an Ergonomic Assessment. This is a longer assessment, often within the office work setting, at the individuals workstation but also may be in other settings, such as factor environments.

The assessment includes time to review the medical situation with the individual. Adjustments and more detailed solutions are required. It may be that the individual’s anthropometric (body dimensions) measurements are needed for an alternative chair. It could be setting up a standing workstation is required.

Assessments are also conducted to support the return to work of an injured worker by ensuring that their workstation is designed to minimise any discomfort as they recover from their injury and prevent any aggravation of the injury. Also, for workers who work from home, to ensure their home work environment is safe and ergonomically set up.

See our Case Studies:

Ergonomic Assessment in an Office Role Case Study

Ergonomic Assessment of a Teacher Case Study

Ergonomic Assessment & Return-to-Work Case Study

See our blog articles related to this topic:

Contact Us for further advice and a quotation.

See our Useful Links page which includes diagnosis specific advice from organisations which can help.

What is a Workstation Assessment?

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Testimonials

Qualification Curriculum Authority

Friendly, helpful and informative, since Healthywork assessed my workstation and advised me, my bad back is better. What more do I need to say?

Mr Sam Morris, Qualification Curriculum Authority, Central london

Atos Healthcare

Alison has provided a regular service to Atos Healthcare since July 2007. She is professional, flexible and delivers to timescales and her services have been valued by us and our customer Royal Mail.

Mrs Santu Bhudia, Atos Healthcare

Sensory Dimensions

Ergonomic Assessment Functional Capacity Assessment Evaluation DSE Assessment Workstation Milton Keynes Cambridge Oxford North London - sensory

Many thanks indeed for the report.  Very thorough and a lot for us to do to help our member of staff.

I really appreciate the quick turn around.  (May 2017)

Simon Hails
Sensory Dimensions

Somek and Associates

I have known and worked with Alison Biggs of Healthywork since 2003. I have always found her to be extremely professional and committed any work project, and very knowledgeable about her specialist field.

Ergonomic Assessments and Functional Capacity Assessments for Medico-legal cases provided in Essex, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and London.

Alison Somek

Survey feedback following a DSE Assessment

It (The DSE Assessment) provided some invaluable advice and recommendations to help make my workstation more comfortable and prevent future injury.

Anonymous

Jan 2018

Anonymous

Survey feedback following a DSE Assessment

Well worth having a trained professional actually observe you at your workspace as small adjustments can improve comfort and health.

Sept 2017

Anonymous

Ergonomic Assessment Testimonial by Fegans

Ergonomic Assessment testimonial by Fegans

Ergonomic Assessment Testimonial by Fegans

Thank you once again for the excellent service you have provided.  Jane was very satisfied with the assessment and I would be happy to recommend you to others needing workstation or other work-place assessments. (December 2017)

Linden Sanders, Operations Director
Fegans

UNUM

Alison is professional at all times, she is easy to work with, adaptable and open to discussing how, through the reports she produces she can meet the changing needs of her clients.

Elaine Cook

FCE testimonial by Snows Group

FCE testimonial by Snows Group

FCE testimonial by Snows Group

We are extremely impressed with the service you have provided and will definitely keep your details on file for any future issues. (November 2011)

Samantha Cheesman Group HR Officer, Snows Group

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine

Alison provided workstation assessments and advice during our relocation. Although we are a small organisation it was important to obtain professional and expert help and I would recommend Alison to others without hesitation. (Workstation Risk Assessments and Ergonomic Assessments 2012)

Kathryn Swanston, Chief Executive, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine