Display Screen Equipment: Users' Self-Assessment Checklist

The most common risk factors arising from display screen equipment use are:

1. Musculoskeletal problems
These range from temporary fatigue and discomfort to chronic aches, pains and debilitating soft tissue disorders. Parts of the body affected include the wrists, fingers, arms, shoulders and back. Musculoskeletal problems are caused by poor or static posture, such as sitting for long periods without adequate lumbar support for your back, holding your arms and wrists in an awkward position whilst keying or using the mouse because your chair is not adequately adjusted, not taking sufficient breaks from screen work.

2. Visual fatigue
Visual fatigue can be caused by such factors as poor adjustment of screen brightness and contrast controls, an unstable or flicking image on the screen, glare reflected on the screen, insufficient lighting to read source documents, concentrating for prolonged periods.

3. Stress
This can be caused by the user having little or no control over their work content or the pace they work, excessive work loads, tight deadlines, repetitive or monotonous tasks.

Basic requirements for workstations
These are some basic requirements for setting up a workstation so that it promotes good posture and safe working practices:

The chair should be capable of adjustment of the seat height, backrest and backrest tilt. The backrest should offer adequate lumbar support, which should be able to be adjusted to suit the individual user. The seat height should be adjusted so that the user can sit with their shoulders in a relaxed position and their elbows at a 90-degree angle, with the upper arms vertical and forearms horizontal whilst keying and using the mouse. Hands should just rest on keyboard, in a neutral position (flat) avoiding excessive flexion (wrist bent down), extension (wrist bent up) or deviation of the wrists (turning left and right). The mouse should be positioned so that the user can operate it whilst maintaining their elbow at 90-degree angle. There should be space in front of the keyboard for the user to rest their hands in between keying.

The screen should be positioned directly in front of the user and be at a height so that the user's line of vision is approximately 5 cm from the top of the screen.

The chair seat should have sufficient depth to accommodate the user without pressure on the backs of the thighs or knees. The angle of the seat should enable the user to sit with their hips raised slightly above their knees, so that their pelvis is rotated forward thereby helping the spine to maintain its natural 'S' shaped curve. The user's feet should be able to rest flat on the floor or be provided with a footrest.

There should be sufficient space on the work surface to accommodate any equipment or items the user may need to perform their job. There should be sufficient space under the desk or workstation for the user's legs to enable them to change position as required.

It is vital that computer users take regular breaks from screen based work, stretch and reposition in order to avoid excessive static loading of their muscles and tendons, which leads to fatigue and upper limb disorders. It is important to take breaks before fatigue sets in, otherwise there will be insufficient time to recover. It is recommended that a five minute break is taken every hour, as a minimum. The User should also take frequent mini breaks from viewing the screen by focusing on something different from the screen in order to avoid visual fatigue.

Self-Assessment Checklist



Job Title:

Location of workstation (e.g., room number):

Date of Assessment:

1. How often do you use your computer?
a) Habitually thorough the day
b) continuously for an hour or more each day.
c) less than an hour each day.

2. Discretion on displayscreen equipment use and pace of work
a) Can you perform your job without using the computer?
b) Do you have discretion over the pace of your work?

– Complete discretion
– Some discretion
– Little or no discretion

3. Do you suffer from any aches, pains or discomfort in fingers, wrists, arms, neck, shoulders or back when using your computer?
– Constantly
– Frequently
– Occasionally
– Never

4. If "yes", please state what part of your body is affected.

5. Does the pain or discomfort go when not at work?

6. Can you adjust your seat height, and back rest?

7. Does the chair provide adequate lumbar (lower back) support?

8 Do you sit with your back supported whilst keying or using the mouse?

9. Is your chair adjusted so that you can position your arms with your elbows at 90o angle with forearms horizontal whilst keying and using mouse?

10. Is the seat depth an adequate size, so that there is no pressure on the backs of thighs or knees when seated?

11. If your chair has arms does it prevent you from getting close to the desk?

12. Can your feet rest comfortably on the floor when your chair is adjusted at the correct height?

13. If "no", have you been provided with a footrest?

14. Is there adequate space on your desk for all the items \ equipment you use most frequently?

15. Is there adequate space in front of the keyboard to rest your hands in between keying?

16. Is there adequate space beneath the desk to enable you to stretch your legs and regular change position?

17. Can you adjust the position of your monitor?

18. Is you screen positioned directly in front of you?

19. Is your line of vision approximately 5cm to 7cm from the top of the screen when viewing the screen?

20. Is your screen positioned at a comfortable viewing distance? (It should be approximately an arm's length away from you).

21. Is the screen subject to reflections and glare?

22. Are the screen images stable and clear?

23 Can you adjust the contrast and brightness of your screen?

24. Do you suffer from any visual problems e.g., visual fatigue, trouble focusing when using your computer?
– Constantly
– Frequently
– Occasionally
– Never

25. If yes to constantly or frequently, give details:

26. Do you suffer from headaches when using your computer?
– Constantly
– Frequently
– Occasionally
– Never

27. Have you had an eyesight test within the last 12 months?

28. Do you find the lighting at your workstation adequate?

29. Do you have sufficient lighting to read any documents \paperwork you use at your workstation?

30. Have you been supplied with a task lamp?

31. If you read or copy from source documents, have you been provided with a document holder?

32. Is your document holder positioned close to the screen?

33. Is your keyboard comfortable to use and suitable for the tasks you have to do?

34. Is your mouse suitable for the size of your hand and comfortable to use?

35. Can you use your mouse with your wrists flat and your fingers in a neutral position, without excessive gripping action?

36. Do you have the mouse positioned close to the keyboard so it can be used without you having to extend your arm?

37. Do you frequently have to use the telephone whilst keying or using your mouse, causing you to cradle the receiver on your shoulder?

38. Is your work area free from trailing leads, cables and other obstructions?

39. Is there adequate storage space at your workstation?

40. Do you find the software \ hardware suitable for the work you have to do?

41. Do you think you have received adequate training on the software and programmes you need to use?

42. Do you have excessive peaks or troughs in your workload?

43. Do your working arrangements allow you to take breaks from screen based work to do other tasks?

44. Do you work at the display screen equipment for prolonged periods (more than an hour) at a time without a break?
– Often
– Sometimes
– Never

45. Do you take frequent micro-breaks from keying to stretch, change position, and to re-focus your eyes away from the screen?

46. Within the last two years have you received any training on the health and safety issues arising from the use of display screen equipment?

Are they any other comments or factors you would like to raise concerning your workstation or working environment?


Signature of User: