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Health & Safety Matters - Display Screen Equipment, Manual Handling, Safety in Swimming Lessons

Andy Haynes, Leicester H&S Officer
25th May 2016

Display Screen Equipment

Display screen equipment is any equipment that is used to display the output from an electronic device. This covers a traditional computer or laptop screen, a tablet and - importantly - interactive white boards. Historically teachers were not considered to be 'DSE Users' because they were thought not to have to use computers regularly in the course of their work. Obviously this has changed, but some schools still maintain a blanket judgement that teachers do not qualify.

The regulations are clear, and unless an employee has been assessed individually, they cannot be designated as a non-user. Alternatively, it would be acceptable for a school to decide that all of a particular group are users if they wished to save the time and money involved in carrying out individual assessments.

The guidance to the DSE Regulations defines a 'user' either as:

  • someone who makes "more or less continuous use" of computer equipment at work, and then
  • where use is less frequent, a person is considered to be a user if the following criteria apply:
    1. normally use DSE for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour or more at a time; and
    2. use DSE in this way more or less daily; and
    3. have to transfer information quickly to or from the DSE.
    In addition, they must also need to apply high levels of attention and concentration; or be highly dependent on the DSE or have little choice about using it; or need special training or skills to use the DSE.

A DSE user is entitled to have their eye tests paid for by their employer every two years, or more frequently if the optician specifies. They are also entitled to be paid reasonable costs for standard frames and lenses if they need special glasses for use in their work.

Manual Handling

The second most common cause of sickness absence amongst teachers is musculoskeletal problems caused by standing for long periods of time, poor seating (if any) and incorrect lifting of heavy weights such as piles of books or equipment. If you are expected to lift or move large loads your employer should have given you basic manual handling training. If they have not, or if you need to lift something that you feel is beyond your capacity, some form of assistance should be given. If it is not, you would be quite within your rights to refuse. This would also apply to carrying books to your car in slippery conditions.

Safety in Swimming Lessons

Leicester LA are reviewing their guidance for safety in swimming lessons following a serious incident in a local school. The guidance already specified that a qualified lifeguard should be on duty at all times, but the revision will make clear exactly what should be expected of the lifeguard. It is essential for all school staff involved in swimming lessons to be aware of these requirements.

Online Stress Surveys

The NUT has developed an online version of the stress survey that has been in use for some time. This is completely confidential and all the analysis is completed automatically so school reps don't have any work todo. If your school NUT group would be interested in making use of this please email andy[at]leicesternut.org.uk.

Midlands NUT H&S Conference

The annual Midlands H&S conference will take place in the Birmingham office on Thursday 23rd June. All school reps, H&S reps and other officers are invited to attend. Please email midlands[at]nut.org.uk or andy[at]leicesternut.org.uk if you are interested.


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