Opticians London Liverpool Street: Eye Contact , Unit 2, The Arcade, Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7PN - (t) 0207 626 7232. 2 minutes walk from London Wall, Broadgate
Eye Contact Opticians London - Liverpool Street, Broadgate

Employer Health & Safety Obligations

Is my company breaking the law?

Research by the Eyecare trust, a registered charity that raises awareness of all aspects of eye health and regular eyecare,  found that almost 90% of businesses are failing to comply with all six key employer obligations under the regulations despite penalties for failing to comply, including fines and even criminal prosecution.

Eyes and eyesight effects one of the main risks of using a computer screen

The Health & Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 2002 aim to protect employees from the risks of using a computer or other display screen as a routine part of their work.

Risks to eyes and eyesight are identified in the regulations as one of the main risks of using a computer, along with musculo-skeletal disorders and stress. Research shows that using a computer screen generally doesn’t cause damage to eyes but can make you aware of a pre-existing vision defect. See the visual fatigue section for details on symptoms.

What are my obligations? – Your Guide to the Regulations – Regulation 5 Eyes & Eyesight

  • Provide eye tests (at no cost to the employee) for employees who are habitual users of DSE on request by the employee.

This means provide eye tests for staff that typically use a computer screen as part of their normal work for more than an hour at a time

  • Provide eye tests for new recruits who will be DSE users and employees transferring into positions
  • Provide the eye test as soon as possible after the request is made, or for new recruits or employees about to become users, before they become users.
  • Provide tests at regular intervals after the first test

Follow up tests must be provided and employers should be guided by the advice of the Optician who will typically recommend retesting every 12 or 24 months according to their clinical judgement

  • Cover the full cost of a basic frame and lenses if the user is prescribed special spectacles for DSE use only.

If the Optometrist recommends that the employee requires spectacles are required only when using a computer then the employer must cover the full cost of basic frames and lenses. 

Regulation 7: Give staff adequate information about their entitlement to eye tests and how the employer provides tests.

In addition to the specific requirements to protect the risks to eyes & eyesight, the Regulations have more general obligations relating to training to minimise the risks of using a computer screen. The main requirement is

Regulation 6: employers must provide users with adequate health & safety training in the use of any workstation upon which they are required to work: Training should include:

  • Causes of DSE related problems
  • Users role in recognising risks
  • Importance of comfortable posture and postural change
  • Equipment adjustment mechanisms: chairs, contrast, brightness
  • Use and arrangement of workstation components
  • Need for regular screen cleaning
  • Need to take breaks and changes in activity
  • Arrangements for reporting problems
  • Information about the regulations (especially sight tests & breaks)
  • Users role in assessments