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Lesson #2: Working with computers


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Lesson #2: Working with computers

  1. 1. ATL ADVICEWorking with computersThe law relating to health and safety issues for work with computers is contained in the Health andSafety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, which define a ‘user’ as an employee whohabitually uses display screen equipment as a significant part of their normal work.Though education staff are not usually working at a Checklist for workstationscomputer all day, the introduction of planning, The DSE Regulations detail the minimum standards forpreparation and assessment (PPA) time and the workstations, which are summarised below.electronic marking of examinations have resulted inincreased use of computers. The display The display should:There are health problems associated with working withcomputers, which include repetitive strain injury, eye • display well-defined characters of adequate size andstrain, back pain and stress. spacing • have a stable imageRisk assessment • have easily adjustable brightness and contrastThe regulations require employers to carry out a riskassessment of users’ workstations, which should • tilt and swivel easily to suit the userconsider the entire workstation, including equipment • be free from glare and reflectionsand furniture, as well as the work environment, eg • use a separate base for the screen, or an adjustablelighting, temperature and leg room. The tasks that are table.being performed at the work station should beconsidered as should any special needs of individualstaff. The keyboard The keyboard should:Display screen equipment (DSE) risk assessmentsshould also consider those factors that may contribute • be tiltable and separate from the screen to allow theto repetitive strain injuries such as: user to adopt a comfortable working position • have a space in front to provide support for the hands• sitting in the same position for a long period or arms of the user• awkward positioning of the wrist and hand in relation • have a matt surface to the keyboard have clearly legible symbols on the keys.• high workload for a prolonged period of time• excessive use of the mouse.ADV24 /2
  2. 2. The work surface • health risksThe work surface should: • who to report symptoms to or to contact for help• provide adequate space for the user • information about the right to eyesight tests.• have a low reflective surface• be of adequate size to allow the screen, keyboard, etc Eye tests to be flexibly arranged Under the regulations, users have a right to eyesight• have a stable, adjustable document holder, which tests upon starting computer work and at regular should be at the same level as the screen and at the intervals thereafter, at the employer’s expense. Where same viewing distance. tests show that the user requires special spectacles or lenses for computer work, the employer must pay forThe work chair the cost of a basic pair.The work chair should have a seat that is adjustable inheight, with a seat back adjustable in height and tilt. A Laptop computersfootrest should be available. The work of laptop users should be properly assessed. As some laptops can be heavy, the assessment oughtThe workstation/environment to include the risk of manual handling (ie lifting andThe workstation must do the following: carrying).• provide sufficient space for the user or the operator to Laptops should be used in proper workstations and not alter position comfortably on one’s lap, especially if large amounts of data need to• lighting must be adequate with suitable contrast be inputted. As prolonged use is likely to cause between the screen and background ergonomic problems, it is even more important for users to take regular breaks, position themselves correctly,• glare and reflections on the screen should be avoided flex their arms, etc.• windows should be fitted with adjustable coverings to alter the daylight level. If you require further information on this or any otherWhen a workstation is shared by more than one person, health and safety issue, please contact ATL’s memberit should be assessed in respect of each person. advisor on health and safety by calling 020 7782 1598 or emailing and colleges should consult their safety repson all matters concerning work with computers. You can also find lots of advice and information in the health and safety section of our website at uk/hands.Training in using computersEmployers are obliged to provide information andtraining on the health and safety aspects of workingwith computers. This should cover:• the importance of good posture, changing position and good keyboard technique• how to avoid glare or bright reflections in the screen• cleaning and adjusting the screen• the importance of frequent short breaks• using a mouse Need advice? You first point of contact is the ATL rep in your school/college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help, or you can contact ATL’s member advisors on 020 7930 6441, email Don’t forget there’s lots more advice on ATL’s website at © Association of Teachers and Lecturers 2011. All rights reserved. Information on this sheet may be reproduced or quoted with proper acknowledgement to ATL.ADV24 2/2