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Where employees "habitually use display screen equipment" (typically computers or microfiches), as a significant part of their normal work, they may be effected by physical and/or visual discomfort if their workstation is inappropriately set up or used. Legislation was enacted in 1993 and updated in 2007 which set down certain requirements for work on such equipment as follows:
- to assess computer workstations as to their health and safety risks.
- to take appropriate measures to remedy these risks.
- to ensure that computer work is periodically interrupted by breaks or changes of activity.
- to provide training to employees in the use of computers and relevant information on the health and safety aspects of their work.
A number of employees have been trained as Workstation/VDU Assessors to assess the safety aspects of computer workstations on behalf of Heads of Colleges/Schools/Disciplines/Sections. (See Downloads for list of NUI Galway VDU Assessors)
A programme of assessments is underway, but if you have any immediate queries or issues please contact the University Safety Office directly.
Do the Display Screen Equipment requirements of Chapter 5 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 apply to laptops?
Regulation 71 (d) states that “this Chapter does not apply to… portable display screen equipment not in prolonged use at a workstation”
Guide to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 Chapter 5 of Part 2: Display Screen Equipment says
“A laptop is not covered by these Regulations due to the fact that under these Regulations the keyboard shall be tiltable and separate from the screen so as to allow the user to find a comfortable working position which avoids fatigue in the arms or hands.
A laptop does not have a separate keyboard and a user should not work of the laptop directly for long periods of time.
It is recommended that a laptop should be connected to a separate monitor and keyboard, The workstation can then be assessed to record whether the workstation meets the requirements detailed in the Display Screen Equipment Regulation.
Other temporary laptop workstation set ups should be assessed to determine the usage of the laptop and to identify potential risks, however the user should not work of the laptop directly for long periods of time.
Further Information (See Files for Download)
Ergonomics in the Workplace (HSA)
Computer Set Up Guide
NUI Galway VDU Assessors
NUI Galway Safety Statement - see Part 5.8