Workstation Assessments are a part of the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations. This applies whenever you are using a computer, be that a POISE terminal, a laptop or any other computer screen when you are using that screen for an average of at least one hour per day – this covers most, if not all, of us at work.
The reason workstation assessments exist is to assess how we use our computers at work. To ensure that we have the right equipment, such as suitable chairs, so that we work in a comfortable position; and to identify any adjustments we might need from computer peripherals to adapted software. The aim of these assessments it to make sure that we don’t cause any avoidable injury to ourselves as a result of using computers at work.
You may remember from previous membership communications that the ISU have been heavily involved in representing members injured in this way, both within the workplace and where necessary at law. However it is equally, if not more important, to prevent those injuries if we can!
Completing a workstation self-assessment takes about 5 minutes and you can complete it from any POISE terminal. You can find the form on Horizon (just search for Workstation Assessment) and it asked a series of questions with a yes/no answer. You don’t need any training or particular knowledge to complete it – this is just about you and about how you use the IT.
The form is designed for those with a permanent workstation, which of course is not the case for many staff in Operational Arm. If you hot desk then fill in the form using the worst case scenario i.e. if you have one particular desk without a height adjustable chair then reference that desk when filling in the form. Once completed the form is automatically sent to your line manager who will be notified if you need an appointment with a formal workstation assessor.
So what do you get out of completing it?
This is about making sure that you are able to use your workstation – or workstations – without adversely affecting your health in any avoidable way; for example through fatigue, eye strain or physical strain sometimes called a “work related upper limb disorder” (WRULD; previously RSI). The workstation assessment highlights any risks and/or deficiencies with the equipment, environment or relevant training. This can then be corrected via an action plan which will either eliminate or reduce those risks.
Remember – completing a workstation assessment helps to keep you safe and avoid injury. Or at the very least provides a solid legal standpoint should an injury occur as a result of an identified deficiency which has not been addressed.