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The focus of each VDU assessment conducted by Business Safety is on compliance with the requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the General Application Regulations 2007 (see below for legislation requirements).
VDU assessments are conducted in two stages:
- VDU users are issued with a questionnaire
- Our expert VDU assessor conducts on-site VDU assessments.
The purpose of the questionnaire is to obtain information directly from the VDU user. This is important information which may not be detected by observation alone. Users may give indications regarding workstation layout, seating arrangements or environmental discomfort caused by drafts, controlled ventilation etc.
VDU workstations are individually assessed taking account the layout and design of the workstation, environmental factors and user interaction with the workstation.
We will then write a full report outlining particulars of the workstation, our findings and recommendations for improving user experience and compliance with legislation or best practice. Reports include data collected e.g. temperature and humidity, as well as digital photographs of workstation layout at the time of assessment.
Part 2, Chapter 5 (VDU Assessments) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 set down minimum standards and requirements regarding VDU workstations.
In particular, the General Application Regulations 2007 require employers to:
- ensure that the general use of the equipment is not a source of risk for the employee,
- conduct a VDU Assessment, taking account of possible risks to:
- physical problems, and
- problems of mental stress
- Plan such works to include periodic breaks or changes in activity
- provide information to the employer’s employees
- provide training to employees in the use of workstations
- Conduct further VDU Assessments where:
- the employee transfers to a new workstation, or
- where new equipment or technologies are introduced
- Make eye tests available
HSA guidance states that each employer must carry out a VDU Assessment of individual workstations and this must be done by a competent person with the necessary skills, training and experience.
The guidance also states that it is not sufficient to allow employees to use a software package to conduct their own VDU Assessment but rather, the employer must be actively engaged in completing a physical risk assessment/analysis when conducting a VDU Assessment.
Are they necessary?
Habitual and prolonged use of VDUs can cause discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, hand and arm. These conditions are collectively described as Upper Limb Disorders. Where problems do occur, they are generally as a result of how VDUs are used, rather than the VDUs themselves. These problems can generally be avoided by good workplace and job design, and by adjusting the way VDU and workstation are used.
Business Safety are competent assessors within the meaning of the 2005 Act and will conduct your VDU assessments, offer expert advice on compliance with the Regulations and advise you on how to resolve any issues identified.
How do I know if they are required?
There are a few questions you can ask yourself in deciding whether a VDU Assessment is necessary.
- Are employees required to use VDUs to carry out his or her work?
- Do employees normally use a VDU for continuous periods of more than one hour?
- Are VDUs generally used on a daily basis?
- Have employees complained about discomfort, eye-strain or stress when using a VDU?
If you answer Yes to any of the above, then you should conduct a VDU Assessment on the relevant workstations.
Are there exemptions?
No. There are several exclusions to the Regulations. Regulation 71 (Non-application of Chapter 5) excludes the following from the requirements of the Regulations:
- drivers’ cabs or control cabs for vehicles or machinery
- computer systems on board a means of transport
- computer systems mainly intended for public use
- portable display screen equipment not in prolonged use at a workstation
- calculators, cash registers and equipment with a small data display, and
- typewriters of traditional design, of the type known as “typewriter with window”
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