At Work

DSE and Standing Desks: What You Need to Know

Regardless of the industry, these days it’s likely that most employees spend at least a portion of their working day using a laptop, tablet, or similar piece of equipment in order to complete their duties. In cases where this is true, employees are obligated to provide display equipment training and assessments to the relevant employees, in line with their duties according to Regulation 6 of the Display Screen Equipment Regulations. The most efficient and convenient way to ensure compliance is by providing online DSE training.

An Overview of DSE

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is used to refer to equipment such as laptops, PCs, tablet and smartphones. Any employer that requires their employees to use the aforementioned DSE must take the appropriate steps to protect their workers from health risks associated with extended DSE use.

Governed by legislation set out in the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, the regulations apply to any workers who use DSE each working day for periods of an hour or longer at any one time. In line with this regulation, it is the duty of employers to: carry out a workstation assessment of DSE; provide appropriate training and information to employees; facilitate an eye test should an employee request one; and put reasonable measures in place to reduce risks, such as allowing workers to take breaks from tasks which require the use of DSE.

Employees should take note that the legislation doesn’t only apply to individuals using a fixed workstation. DSE legislation also covers mobile workers, anyone working from home, and employees who hot-desk. 

Benefits of Standing at Work

The use of standing desks and sit-stand desks is becoming increasingly popular, in an attempt to combat the sedentary nature of office work. Numerous studies have been published in recent years linking sedentary work and lifestyles with an increased risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

By using a standing desk at work, employees can reduce many of the risks associated with sedentary work. These include:

  • Burning more calories – standing up burns up to 2 calories per minute more than sitting down
  • Reducing the deposition of fat around vital organs
  • Helping to elevate muscular-skeletal issues, such as back pain
  • Lowering the risk of certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases

Using a Standing Desk 

While a standing desk is encouraged, users should make the transition incrementally rather than switching from using a traditional workstation to a standing one for the entire working day. To begin with, employees should use stand for around 2 hours a day, in order to get their muscles used to the new position. Over time, they should gradually increase the amount of time they spend using a standing desk, eventually moving away from sitting down altogether.

Checklist for Using a Standing Desk

  • Set the desk height by ensuring shoulders are relaxed, creating a 90-degree angle at the elbow when forearms are rested on the desk.
  • Ensure that wrists are in line with forearms in a neutral position, when not using the keyboard.
  • Plant feet firmly on the ground shoulder, shoulder-width apart.
  • PC or laptop is positioned an arm’s length away, directly in front of the user when they are standing in a neutral position.
  • The desk itself is adjustable, accommodating users of different heights – ideally, allowing them to use it both sitting and standing.
  • Place any necessary items, such as the telephone in such a way that users do not need to stretch to reach them.

DSE Assessments and Standing Desks

Much like those using traditional workstations, standing desk users are subject to DSE assessments, which employers are obligated to carry out. These should cover all the same areas as DSE assessments for sitting desks, focusing on how the workstation itself is set up, along with the posture and positioning of users.

Employees should also be provided with appropriate training, as the regulation requires, on how to safely use standing desks for extended periods.

Adam is a content marketer, gym rat, husband, father and entrepreneur.

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