DSE Regulations

With the management of employee work patterns a key part of the UK Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations, CtrlWORK plays an active in role in your organisations health & safety compliance as well as managing employee performance and comfort. The positive effects on wellbeing carry over to employee home life as CtrlWORK users leave work with more energy and less work related discomfort, meaning they are more able to enjoy their free time.

Studies show that computer based employees are poor at identifying when a break is required and often wait until after they're tired before they stop. The same applies to feelings of discomfort. The DSE Regulations point out that for employee productivity and health benefits to be realised, taking preventative pit-stops while energy levels are at optimum levels is more effective than recovery pit-stops when the employee is already suffering with fatigue and discomfort.

On this basis the Health & Safety Executive enforce the taking of breaks from intensive computer work in Regulation 4 of the DSE regulations. Regulation 4 stipulates that employers should plan so that “daily work on display screen equipment is periodically interrupted by such breaks or changes of activity”. The regs go on to say where work “contains spells of intensive DSE work,  these should be broken up”. Other key points made in Regulation 4 state:

  • Breaks should be taken in work time
  • Breaks should reduce workload and not result in a higher pace or intensity of work because of their introduction
  • Breaks should be taken when employee performance and productivity are at a maximum, before the user starts to get tired
  • that appropriate timing of the break is more important than its length and short frequent breaks are better than occasional, longer breaks.
By advising employees when they need to take a pit-stop from their workstation activities, CtrlWORK reduces fatigue and discomfort for the employee, while helping the business comply with the regulatory advice issued by the Health & Safety Executive.

Regulation 4 of the UK Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations covers the daily work routine of users and the need for employers to plan regular changes in activities or breaks from computer work to avoid employee fatigue. Included in the regulations is advice for Health & Safety professionals considering the implementation of a rest break software solution.

The key points are as follows:
  • Given the complexity of managing individual employee work patterns, break software may be a viable option for organisations keen on ensuring users take regular breaks from intense computer usage. 
  • Break software should not be used in isolation and the employer still has a responsibility to plan work activities properly.
  • There is great variation in the functionality break software solutions offer. Some simply remind users to take breaks periodically, regardless of how much the computer has been used. To avoid employee frustration, these solution are best used in working environments where computer use is pretty constant.
  • Next generation break software solutions, such as CtrlWORK, which base its pit-stop recommendations on actual keyboard and mouse use are better, particularly for the average employee who uses their computer with different levels of intensity throughout the day.
  • To increase employee buy in and promote long term behaviour change, break software that gives employees scope to configure personal settings is recommended. CtrlWORK provides regular feedback to the user along with recommended setting changes. The user is free to make and setting changes themselves at any time.
  • To avoid employee frustration, break software that advises on pit-stops, rather than enforces them work better. CtrlWORK pit-stops can be ignored during busy periods as advice rather than enforcement is better at bringing about long term behaviour change.