Research: smartphones ‘should be considered DSE’
Employers need to consider employee use of smartphones in their Display Screen Equipment (DSE) policies, new research has claimed.
The study, conducted by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, reveals the extent to which staff now use smartphones everyday in working roles.
- 23% of employers said all workers now use smartphones as part of their role
- 60% said at least half used phones as part of their role
- Only 7% said none of employees use smartphones for their job
Working pattern change
The figures showed how prevalent the use of handheld devices has become in the workplace, often for a wide range of purposes across different sectors.
As a result, it has now been suggested that employers should ensure eyecare-at-work policies reflect the change, as the nature of classification as a ‘screen user’ has shifted.
Not in use
Director of strategic alliances for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, Jim Lythgow, said the only reason smartphones aren’t in the DSE regulations is they weren’t in use when last amended in 2002.
He said: “The regulations do, however, only exclude portable DSE that is not in prolonged use (reg 1.4.d.). So, it is the length of time employees are using screens that is more relevant than the type or size of screens they use.”
Although smart phone technology is not specifically covered by the DSE Regulations, HSE guidance states that “portable DSE and handheld devices are subject to the Regulations if in prolonged use for work purposes.”
While there are no “hard-and-fast rules” on ‘prolonged’ use, the study said, it is reasonable to conclude portable equipment used by an employee for a significant part of their normal work could be regarded as covered by the DSE Regulations.
This may relate to frequency of use, employees needing to apply high levels of attention and concentration to the DSE task, being highly dependent on DSE, or have little choice about using it.
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