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Everything UK Employers Need to Know About DSE Assessments.

Increased adoption of remote working over the past year has not come without its challenges. Over one third (37.7%) of musculoskeletal disorder cases in 2020 were linked to work, up from 1.4% in 2019, according to analysis by health and safety consultants Arinite

Arinite has linked the rise in musculoskeletal injuries to the significant increase in home working. 

Where are we going wrong working from home? An ergonomist's perspective >

The rise in cases has potentially gone unnoticed, too. A survey of UK home workers by charity Versus Arthritis in September 2020 found that, of those who were experiencing back, neck or shoulder pain as a result of working from home, 89% had not informed their employer.

As an employer, how do you improve the disconnect? 

A DSE assessment will not only give you visibility of how your employees are working from home, but an action plan for remedying any issues with their set-up. You can use the assessment results to significantly improve the wellbeing of your home workers.

Below, we run through everything you need to know about DSE assessments - from what they cover, to acting upon the results.

What is DSE, and what is a DSE assessment?

DSE - Display Screen Equipment - includes any screen that displays information. DSE common in working environments includes laptops, computers, monitors, smartphones, and tablets.

A DSE assessment is effectively a workstation risk assessment, designed for anyone who uses DSE as part of their job. Employers can use the assessment results to ensure their teams have the equipment and resources they need to work safely.

What does a DSE assessment cover?

A DSE assessment should cover a team member’s entire workstation - not just their screen equipment, as the name would suggest - and working environment. So their work furniture (chair, desk, footrest etc.), peripherals (mouse, keyboard, laptop stand) and environmental factors like temperature, humidity, lighting and noise levels.

Are DSE risk assessments a legal requirement? Do I need to carry out DSE assessments for employees working from home, too?

Yes. Under UK Health and Safety regulations, employers are legally required to carry out DSE workstation assessments for all office- and home-based workers.

Who should complete a DSE assessment, and how often should DSE assessments be carried out?

According to the regulations, any worker that uses DSE for at least an hour at a time, daily, is deemed a ‘DSE user’ and should be assessed. 

Your employees should do a DSE assessment when they first join your company, when they change workstations and/or make significant changes to their current workstations.

This means hybrid workers must assess both their office and home workstations.

So beyond the legalities, why are DSE assessments important?

Employees that use DSE incorrectly, or set up their workstations poorly, may experience musculoskeletal discomfort - including back, neck shoulder, arm, back, and wrist pain - as well as eye strain and fatigue. 

Discomfort can lead to serious issues. Musculoskeletal injuries are the second most common cause of both short- and long-term absences in the UK, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD)’s 2020 Health and Wellbeing at Work report

DSE assessments can therefore help employers identify incorrect use of DSE, any risks in employee workstations (e.g. a chair that does not provide sufficient back support), and any equipment employees are lacking - before risks turn into issues. 

This is, arguably, especially important in the case of homeworkers, who do not work in regulated environments (e.g. offices) and have likely set up their workstations themselves. 

Indeed, when the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) surveyed home workers two weeks into the UK’s national lockdown, they saw a significant rise in musculoskeletal complaints compared to before - a 58% increase in neck pain, 56% in shoulder pain and 55% in back pain.

That’s why Hofy offers both a DSE assessment in-platform, and a professional assembly service with deliveries - so you have peace of mind that your homeworkers are not putting themselves at risk during set-up.

How does Hofy’s DSE self-assessment work?

Hofy’s DSE self-assessment has been designed for all types of worker: fully remote, hybrid and full-time office workers. Users answer questions about their available space, the furniture, equipment and peripherals they are using, and their general working environment. An assessment takes no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Unlike other DSE assessments, Hofy’s smart self-assessment continuously adapts to your team members’ answers. That means team members get tailored adjustment advice based on the equipment they have, rather than generic guidance.

You will be able to review all team members’ results in the DSE Results panel of the Hofy platform. Our smart DSE self-assessment automatically flags workstation risks, and you’ll also have a record of who has, and hasn’t, completed an assessment.

Is Hofy's DSE assessment suitable for employees working at home?

Yes! Unlike many other assessments, which have been designed for office-use only, Hofy’s DSE assessment has been built to work with home environments, as well as office environments.

We recognise that employees may be working with non-office equipment at home, liking dining room tables and chairs, and have different environmental considerations at home vs the office. We factor this into our assessment process, so your employees get the guidance they need, and you get true visibility over how they are working at home.

How much does Hofy’s DSE assessment cost?

It’s free! Team members can take Hofy’s DSE self-assessment as many times as they want, both at home and in the office, within the Hofy platform. 

What happens if there are issues with my employees’ workstations?

If an employee is missing key equipment, you can order what they need from the integrated Webstore in minutes.

We will also flag if an employee wants or needs additional ergonomist support. We can either notify your in-house ergonomist, or organise a consultation with an experienced ergonomist on your behalf.

Ensure wellbeing at home with Hofy

Demo Hofy’s DSE assessment and administrator dashboard today to see how quick and easy it is to identify the gaps in your teams’ setups - wherever they work.