DSE (Display Screen Equipment - Wellbeing) and Hybrid Working at the BBC

A safety guide to Display Screen Equipment (DSE) use at work, including advice on completing assessments for various types of workstation and how to address any health issues.

Updated: 9 June 2022

All BBC staff are considered to be hybrid workers (agile or office workers). Those staff who have occupational health approved requirements will need to take additional advice. Across the BBC, every hybrid role will be designated as either:

Office: Around one third of us will be primarily office or studio based due to the nature of our work

Agile: Around two thirds of us will work in a more agile way. On average across the BBC this means spending two or three days a week in the office and two or three days a week working from home. How your specific working hours and days are distributed will be decided locally.

In the new hybrid way of working whether you are working from home or attending the office a day or two a week it will be necessary for you to ensure that your personal DSE whether a laptop, phone, tablet or other type of device has to be adjusted to suite your working environment (occupational health assessment users please refer to your line manager). Those with standard requirements will find furniture and equipment available at the desk in the office.

DSE (Display Screen Equipment) What Can Go Wrong?

• If you are working with computers whether at home or in the office for extended periods, with poor posture and inadequate breaks you may experience aches and pains.

• Conditions left untreated can develop into long term health problems and are more difficult to resolve. It is important for your wellbeing that you are aware of appropriate training and support to ensure that you can manage your working environment to reduce the effects of what can go wrong.

Legal/BBC Requirements

  • Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.
  • Anyone who works at home or remotely will complete a workstation wellbeing assessment so we know what you need to do your work. Your team leader will review your assessment and, if appropriate, will approve provision of equipment
  • Disability assessments should be directed to Remploy, our Access & Disability Services provider. Ill-health assessments will be via our Occupational Health provider. Team leaders will ensure their team has what they need to work .

Control Measures

DSE Training

Complete your Workstation Wellbeing Assessment to help you to make adjustments to support you in your work environment whether in the office, at home or on location.

If you need any equipment to support you, you should use the PDF from your Workstation Wellbeing Assessment to discuss this with your manager. 

You may not necessarily need office-type furniture or equipment at home to achieve a good posture. Equally, your own furniture or equipment may not be suitable or sufficient. Use your Workstation Wellbeing Assessment with your manager to help you decide what is needed for your own situations and circumstances.

Occupational Health Referrals

  • Discuss any issues with your line manager who will complete a referral process to Occupational Health on your behalf for additional support.
  • Occupational Health can be contacted via Gateway

Your DSE Equipment (keyboard, mouse, laptop riser, chair etc.)

Standard DSE equipment is available via Buy Book Order; the Workstation Wellbeing Assessment will help you assess what standard DSE equipment you may need. 

For information or ordering a standard chair and/or desk to home, please liaise with your Future Ways of Working divisional lead who will have access to the ordering system for standard chairs/desks. Your Workstation Wellbeing Assessment will help you work out if you need a chair and/or desk or if your home equipment is suitable and sufficient. 

Occupational Health Equipment (specialist chair, specialist mouse etc.)

If you have had a Workstation Assessment via Occupational Health referral which recommends that you have a specialist chair or other specialist items, this will need to be reviewed and signed off by your line manager. More information is here: Non standard DSE equipment


Home Office Furniture Loan

  • You may choose to purchase your own home office equipment or furniture to meet your specific preferences for style or set up in your own home.
  • Please speak to your line manager who will advise and then approve the loan
  • Managers should follow advice on the Hybrid Working Microsite on when and how to make a Home Office Furniture Loan Agreement available.


How to obtain a DSE appropriate chair:

Use your Workstation Wellbeing Assessment to discuss your requirements with your manager. You manager can liaise with your department's nominated person who can order desks and chairs via Gateway. An adjustable office-style chair will be suitable for most people. If you need a specialist chair then your manager can refer you to the Occupational Health team where an ergonomist can discuss what may be needed. 

DSE Eye test – This provides staff with an eye test review supported by payment towards lenses and the eye test see link below in Useful Documents. 

Specialist DSE (display screen equipment) set-ups (including edit suites and galleries and trucks)

Some work requires multiple screens or unusual set-ups. The principles above will apply to these but a specific risk assessment should have been undertaken during design phase and when any changes or updates to equipment layout is planned.

Physiotherapy Helpline

The purpose of the Workstation and Physiotherapy Helpline is to allow the employee to quickly source an effective solution for more minor musculoskeletal problems that do not necessarily need to go through a Management Referral process. This supports research that shows early intervention for musculoskeletal disorders improves clinical outcomes and reduces the duration of the injury.

 What you can get from this service:

  • Direct access to physiotherapy for simple musculoskeletal problems
  • Advice on how to access ergonomic and workstation services
  • Advice and booking of a workstation assessment
  • Sign-posting into other services

Employees can call the Helpline direct themselves by phoning BBC HR (0370 024 3477).

If you experience problems

  • If there are issues with the computer hardware such as the keyboard, mouse, or monitor then contact your local ITC, or call the IT help desk. You can use the equipment link above in this guidance.
  • If there are issues or problems with the environment, lighting, heating etc. then contact BBC Workplace Helpdesk on the numbers below and be sure to get a work reference number.
  • London, English Regions, Scotland and Northern Ireland: 0808 1688 962
  • Wales: *6000 for the Wales Workplace Helpdesk
  • Anybody with a disability can be referred straight through to BBC Access Services.
  • If you have assistive technology requirements then speak to: the IT Helpdesk (external 0845 305 0440) or the Access Services Unit.

 For Managers

  • As a Manager (or Producer if on a Production), you are responsible for ensuring that staff are watching the short DSE video, applying the basic principles and performing an assessment if they are not using standard equipment.
  • If staff are reporting pain or discomfort, you can refer them to Occupational Health for assessment and advice on their workstation and whether and adjustments are needed. This may include physiotherapy treatment where a short course (5 sessions) is likely to resolve the problem.
  • Once an assessment has been completed, Occupational Health will send you a report outlining their recommendations. It is up to you to ensure these recommendations are put in place and any additional equipment is ordered. Contact your local ITC or BBC Safety  +44 37 0411 0464. If you do not have an ITC look at the guidance above and the links attached or email safety@bbc.co.uk for additional support. 

Division Specific Issues

There are no specific divisional issues

BBC Buildings

The BBC has procured standard workstations and these are in place in the majority of our buildings. An assessment of risk has been carried out during design of these areas.

FAQs/Did You Know?

  • There is no evidence that DSE use damages eyesight though you can experience eye strain and headaches with extended use particularly with poor lighting and posture.
  • You are entitled to an eyesight test if you are a regular display screen user and glasses if you require them solely for the display screen distance and normal glasses won’t do. Check out the expenses policy for more information on this process and the form that you need to complete.
  • The Eye Test Expenses Claim Form can be used to reclaim certain eye test expenses, in line with the BBC policy, it's available in the Useful Documents

Useful documents

Skin and eyesight risk topics

  • CBRN and Industrial SpillsA guide to chemical, biological and radiation related hazards.
  • Display Screen Equipment (DSE)A safety guide to various types of workstation and how to address any health issues.
  • Laser Light EffectsGuidance to using laser on productions
  • Non-Ionising RadiationAn overview of the risks from exposures to non-ionising radiation, including UV, microwaves and electro-magnetic fields (EMF).
  • Skincare and DermatitisA guide to looking after your skin and recognising the symptoms of dermatitis which is a reaction that occurs when our skin becomes inflamed.
  • Strobe LightingSafety Guideline to strobe lighting used as a visual effect for entertainment performances.

Tools, guides and contacts

BBC Security - key links:

About this site

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