The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations came into force on January 1st 1993. The employer is responsible for the health and safety of all who work in his premises. All employed habitual users of Display Screen Equipment are entitled to eye examinations paid for by their employer. It is normally agreed that 'habitual' means regularly using a terminal for spells of over one hour and the usual frequency of eye examinations is every two years or more often if clinically necessary.
DSE (VDU) Regulations explained
There is a lot of confusion about employees' entitlement to sight tests and glasses under DSE (VDU) regulations. Employers' obligations are set down in the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations, introduced in 1992 and amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations in 2002.
· a display screen at their workstation,
· a computer numerical control display,
· a display screen on a machine tool
· a display screen on a supermarket till
Few places are safe from the proliferation of LCD screens. Homeworkers are included in these provisions, whether or not the visual display unit (VDU) equipment they use is provided by the company. The same is true for employees working off-site, who are still the responsibility of their employers when it comes to DSE eye care.
The DSE Regulations state that there is a requirement to provide eye and eyesight tests, on request, to all current or new DSE users.
Simple vision screening tests can be carried out for groups of employees on-site, but these do not satisfy the requirements of the DSE Regulations, and staff are still entitled to request a full eye test and sight test regardless of their outcome. Ironically, these screening tests can be more expensive to administer than the full eye examinations that they are intended to circumvent.
Many employers believe that eye tests must be conducted either annually or bi-annually, but what the Regulations actually say is that the professional guidance of the optometrist should be followed. In practice, this is often a two-year test cycle, but will depend entirely on the condition of the individual patient, and must be respected by the employer.
For new users, the test must be conducted before the employee starts using a VDU, but for re-tests the requirement is only that they are carried out as soon as is practicable.
There is also provision in the Regulations for any DSE user to request an eye test at any time outside these defined periods if they experience visual difficulties in the course of their work. However, the Regulations include a "reasonableness" condition, so employers can legitimately resist frivolous or excessive claims.
Employees sometimes believe incorrectly that they have the right to choose which opticians to visit, but the Regulations are quite explicit in this respect, allowing employers to nominate an optometrist.
The regulations are clear about the absolute minimum requirements for the provision of "special" corrective appliances, specifically required for reading a display screen. These are distinguished from "normal" corrective appliances that are, quite simply, glasses used for anything else.
The intermediate distance for screen use is typically between 33cm (12 inches) and 60cm (2 feet). This cannot be automatically assumed, however, as it is quite possible that the operator may, for example, be working with a projection screen at some distance, with a till screen at an airline check-in desk or with a wrist-held computer in a stock room. The optician will need to establish this before the eye test.
The critical criterion is whether glasses are required specifically to view the screen clearly at this distance, and this would not be possible with the user's uncorrected vision or using glasses already required for general day-to-day use. Contrary to many employers' fears, only a very small proportion of users fall into this category, usually less then 10%.
The basic requirement is to provide single-vision spectacles suitable for viewing a screen at the appropriate distance. In practice, bifocal or varifocal lenses are often unsuitable for DSE work, as users will not always be able to see the screen clearly without lowering or raising their heads, which can lead to other problems such as neck pain.
There is no provision for employers to fund the cost of contact lenses for DSE work under any circumstances. In fact, in many cases, opticians would advise that even the most modern and forgiving contact lenses are not the ideal solution for extended periods of DSE work, due to the damaging drying effect they can have on the eyes. A regular contact-lens wearer who is prescribed glasses for DSE use is not compelled to wear them by the legislation, but will at least have the option if they begin to suffer from dry or irritated eyes.
Craig Henderson Optician also provides an extensive range of prescription eye protections suitable for all working environments.
We have a comprehensive range of safety eyewear to ensure the correct fit and therefore the safety of your employees' eyes. We offer two ranges of safety eyewear, both of which are CE approved to EN166.
CR39 - provides a lightweight lens option that
is suitable for working environments where the risk to eyesight comes from light objects travelling at low speed, such as cardboard packaging.
In order to establish the best type of safety glasses for your employees, you should conduct a risk assessment of your working environment. This should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that you are offering the best possible eye protection for your people.
Polycarbonate - provides a very lightweight lens that is tough and durable and able to cope with most situations in which safety glasses are needed.
Toughened Glass - heavy weight and
unsuitable if being worn for long periods of time. Recommended in situations where plastic lenses wouldn't be suitable, for example if likely to come into contact with chemicals.
We can provide a complete eye examination
for all of your safety eyewear users. We would recommend that an eye examination is carried
out at the time of ordering safety glasses, so that we can be sure that the prescription is as accurate as possible and therefore ensuring the safety
of the wearer and negating the need for the glasses to be replaced sooner than necessary
due to a change in prescription.
We stock the Bollé safety glass range.
The Bollé range offers the very latest in safety, style and technology. Their range includes very lightweight, stylish frames that your employees will find very wearable and that will stand up
Safety eyewear can be provided
with 3 different lens materials - CR39, Polycarbonate or Toughened Glass.
The most important consideration of any safety frame is the fit, which is why we offer a sample of most of our safety glasses to be tried on
in store before ordering, and a complete measurement and fitting service before your employee starts using their new safety glasses.
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