Healthy Use of New Display Screen Equipment


Workplace Safety and Health Institute (WSHI), Singapore, in collaboration with the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM Singapore is working on an exciting project to study the potential health effects on our working population associated with the use of smartphones and tablets.

The different ways in which such devices are used (compared to a conventional keyboard and mouse) and the different circumstances in which they are used, often away from a conventional workplace environment, means that current advice on working with computers is out of date.

New Display Screen Equipment explained

Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is a term used in some countries to describe the equipment associated with the use of computers: system units, screens, keyboards, mice, etc.

In recent years, other devices have been developed and so successfully adopted by consumers and organisations that they are now used for many of the things where people previously used more conventional computers. Indeed many people now only have a tablet or smartphone (what we call new DSE) – or have a “normal” computer but hardly use it.

What is the problem with new DSE ?

Health risks, such as musculoskeletal disorders, visually-related problems (e.g. eye strain, headaches), and psychosocial issues (stress), have been associated with the use of computer technology for work for many years. Until quite recently, studies on the extent of such problems have focussed on conventional technology (e.g. desktop computers).

However, there is growing evidence, so far based on laboratory studies, that the increasing use of alternative new DSE technologies such as smartphones and tablets, especially among office workers, has changed the nature of such risks and introduced new risks.