Visual Display Units
It is possible for regular users of computers and other
equipment with a visual display unit (VDU) to experience some acute
ill-health effects. These usually include wrist, arm, shoulder,
neck or back pain; headaches or eye-strain.
Almost invariably problems are caused by the way in which the VDU
is used: it’s position on the desk, its height, the quality of the
screen, and the posture of the user.
Sometimes users can suffer the effects of stress – particularly if
the software is unfamiliar, or not up to the job, or the screen is
difficult to read. Training in the use of both the equipment and
the software is essential.
Workstations must be set up for every user as an individual. If
more than one person uses a workstation, there needs to be as much
adjustment as possible in the chair, table and equipment. Users
must be encouraged to make the necessary adjustments – just as they
would if they were driving a car.
The following items need to be considered:
- it must be height and rake
- it must support the
- it must be in good condition and able to move
- it must be the correct height for the
- it must be deep enough to take the screen
- there must be enough room for papers and
- it must be set up directly in front of the
- it must be at the correct height – the
user must not need to bend their
- it must be clear and easy to
- there must be no glare from lighting or
this must be directly in front of the user –
not at an angle.
there must be room in front of it to rest the
it must be in good condition so that keying is
If users are concerned about their eyes, employers must offer free
eyesight tests, and pay for spectacles which are identified as
necessary for work with a VDU.
It is important that regular breaks from the screen are
incorporated into the working day. Further information is available
in HSE Guidance on the Display Screen Equipment Regulations.
Contact HSE Books, P.O. Box 1999, Endbury, Suffolk. 01787 81165, or
the HSE Infoline, 0541 545500.