Display Screen Equipment

Teachers who use computers in their workplace have a right to have a workstation which complies with legislation. Teachers also have the right to decline to use a computer which does not comply!

Any computer used by teachers (or other employees) must comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, i.e. all workstations must now conform whether or not they are used by a traditional user or a “new” user such as a teacher using Seemis, or being required to enter marks, grades etc.

Appropriate eye and eyesight tests will be given as soon as practical upon the request of the “new” user (teacher). The eye and eyesight tests will be given before the teacher becomes a “user”.

Attached is a Display Screen Equipment Checklist which indicates that the screen, keyboard, work surface, chair, lighting, reflection, mouse, temperature, training and eyesight tests must achieve a certain standard to comply with the Regulations.

The attached checklist may be duplicated, and members may complete it and send it to the Headteacher / Rector (out of courtesy) for onward transmission to your Health and Safety Officer, or other appropriate person in your Authority.

A teacher should not use any computer or workstation which does not comply with the Regulations and the Employer should place a sticker on it stating “DO NOT USE” or at least “NOT FOR EMPLOYEE USE”. These Regulations do not protect pupils! That would appear to be at odds with our duty to “promote and safeguard the health, welfare and safety of pupils”. Health and Safety Legislation is framed to protect employees and puts the onus on employers and in the main does not affect third parties, e.g. pupils.

See Appendix 2: Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Checklist

COMPUTER USE AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

In modern teaching the use of computer systems is inevitable to fulfil many duties which are expected of the teacher. The use of computers is now necessary in planning, creating, storing, and in the presentation of lessons. Reports and referrals are generally produced by computer and communicating with colleagues via email has become the norm.

Working environment

Be aware also of the environment in which you work: is it warm enough, is the humidity level within acceptable limits, is it free from draughts, properly ventilated and is the illumination free from glare?

Your computer workstation

Refer to the SSTA H&S manual: DISPLAY SCREEN EQUIPMENT for advice on the set up of your computer ‘workstation’

Further specific and interesting information about your computer workstation is found on the HSE web site, excerpts below are from

HSE/indg36.pdf - ‘Working with VDU’s’ - page 4.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 implement an EC Directive and came into effect from January 1993 (some small changes were made in 2002).

The Regulations require employers to minimise the risks in VDU work by ensuring that workplaces and jobs are well designed.

The Regulations apply where staff habitually use VDUs as a significant part of their normal work.

Other people who use VDUs only occasionally are not covered by the requirements in the Regulations (apart from the workstation requirements). However, their employers still have general duties to protect them under other health and safety at work legislation.

Employers’ responsibilities:

Employers must:

  • Analyse workstations, assess and reduce risks.

Employers need to examine:

  • The whole workstation including equipment, furniture and the work environment
  • The job being done
  • Any special needs of individual staff.

Local Authority policy / GTCS Guidance on the Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media

Ensure that you have read both your Local Authority policy guidelines on Computer and IT use and the above GTCS Guidance. Your local authority policy outlines the agreement with your employer on the rules and regulations on use of Local Authority computer facilities.

MISUSE OF IT RESOURCES COULD POTENTIALLY LEAD TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION BEING TAKEN.

Important points of note are:

  • Use of your own USB memory devices is in contravention of some policies. Potentially only devices which have been encrypted by the Local Authority may be allowed. This includes data transfer from home to school and back as well as within work. Do not store any unnecessary data on portable devices. Delete what is not needed or save it to an appropriate work server location, particularly data about pupils.
  • Keep your password confidential and do not share it with other people. If you think it may have been compromised, it can be re-set quickly by your regional IT team.
  • When leaving your workstation, ‘log, off’ or ‘lock’ your computer to avoid any compromise
  • of your information.
  • Internet use is an everyday reality in teaching but be aware of any limitations your local authority imposes on its use.
The GTCS Guidance is available at: https://www.gtcs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/professional-guide-engaging-online.pdf 

User knowledge

Every person who is asked to use a computer system should be adequately aware of how to use the software in relation to their work. If in doubt, any user should seek advice firstly from their line manager. The employer should provide the right training for every computer user.

The use and misuse of internet communications:

  • Popular messaging sites should be treated with caution at the workplace. It may well be that your employer does not allow access to such sites on Local Authority IT systems.
  • If you use such sites, it is highly recommended that you exercise your right to refuse unwanted and unsuitable contacts.
  • Digital data can be uploaded to internet-based web sites instantaneously using mobile phones. If you suspect that unsuitable data has been uploaded by anyone in your workplace, contact your line manager immediately and include your SSTA representative in the process. Steps can be taken to remove ‘rubbish’ information from the internet.

Copyright

To cut and paste from the internet is easy. If reproducing data taken from the internet, take steps to adhere to copyright law as appropriate.

SSTA

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