Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Display Screen Equipment (DSE)


Display Screen Equipment (DSE); previously referred to as Visual Display Units or VDUs, are an essential requirement in the University workplace environment. It is recognised that the majority of Staff and Students use DSE or computing equipment, and therefore it is important that provision is made for the working environment, facilities, information and training that allows for the use of this type of equipment with minimal risk to the health and safety of the individual.

There are a number of risks associated with the prolonged use of DSE and this Standard and associated Guidance aims to provide information on how to minimise these risks. Some of the risks associated with DSE are those leading to musculoskeletal problems e.g. Work Related Limb Disorders, (WRLD’s) also known as Repetitive Strain Injury, (RSI), visual fatigue and stress. Consideration should also be given to potential risks to women who are pregnant. There have been many studies investigating the effects of using DSE, and the factors that may influence these such as ergonomics, posture, work schedules and routines, and various environmental factors.


Display Screen Equipment (DSE) – any alphanumeric or graphic display screen, regardless of the display process involved, which is used for, or in connection with work.

This includes portable systems (i.e. laptops, tablets and other touch screen devices) that are provided by the University and are used by employees for more than 1 hour continuously (or for 1½ hours in total over the working day).

This does not cover: calculators, cash registers, or any equipment with a small measurement or data display required for direct use of the equipment; DSE on board a means of transport (i.e. Satellite Navigation Equipment) or window typewriters with a small display showing no more than a few lines of text.

Workstation – The area that accommodates an individual’s display screen equipment. When an assessment is carried out the immediate environment e.g. lighting, temperature, noise etc. is also considered.

DSE User – all employees:


The University takes a management approach based on the adequate control of the risks and expects that:

  1. Assess risks arising from the workstation and type of DSE work being done.
  2. Use and interpret additional sources of information on risk.
  3. Construct a clear record of the risks and make the findings available to those who will need to take appropriate action.

Further information and guidance on DSE is available from the Health and Safety Services website http://wsh.leeds.ac.uk/info/199/dse/121/dse.



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