Are you sitting comfortably?

Assess your workspace to safely work from home

With more time being spent working from home on a long-term basis, it is incredibly important to ensure you have a workstation that allows you to work safely and effectively. Unfortunately, we can’t minimise how much attention your cat is demanding, but we can minimise and control the risks associated with using display screen equipment (DSE) with a basic 5-minute DSE assessment.

It is important to note that there is no increased risk from DSE work for those working at home temporarily. However, with more businesses adopting working from home longer term, it is important to provide your team members with advice on completing a basic assessment at home.

There are simple steps your team members can take to reduce the risks from display screen work.

• Break up long spells of DSE work with breaks (10 minutes minimum every hour) or changes in activity - make yourself a cup of tea, or step outside for some fresh air.

• Stand up and talk when you are on the phone, do some desk stretches.

• Avoid eye fatigue by changing focus or consciously blink from time to time.

Checking in on your posture is also key to reducing DSE risks, follow these steps. You should ensure:

1. shoulders are relaxed

2. lower back and feet are supported

3. the top of the screen should be approximately level with your eyes.

4. wrists are straight and not overstretched to keyboard and mouse

5. legs and arms are at a 90-110° angle.

6. the screen is about an arm’s length away

7. there are no glares caused by lights or sun glare.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also provides a practical workstation checklist which may help for a more comprehensive DSE assessment.

We understand that whilst working from home, not everyone will have the correct desk and chairs, but there are some helpful tips to recreate the perfect DSE environment with what you have available.

1. If your table is too high, placing a cushion to raise your seating position will help relax your shoulders and straighten your wrists.

2. Use a cushion or rolled-up towel to support your lower back.

3. Elevate your laptop screen to eye level with a stand or books or a box if your keyboard is separate

4. Have regular breaks away from your screen and have a walkabout and a stretch to reduce static working, this is also a great productivity tip.

If you have any aches, pains or discomfort related to your DSE arrangements that begin and/or continue after performing your DSE assessments, it maybe that specialist DSE equipment is needed. Equipment such as a separate keyboard, wrist supports, mouse, laptop riser, supporting cushions or larger items such as ergonomic chairs, height-adjustable desks may need to be considered.

Reduce the risks associated with DSE and create a safer working environment.