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Health and Safety Services

Display screen equipment regulations: Eyetests for employees

NOTE: Our eyecare vouchers are not accepted by University Opticians in Student Central

All employees are required by law to co-operate with the arrangements that their employer makes for safety. Display Screen Equipment (DSE) safety including eye-test provision is covered along with other safety issues in the on-line Safety Induction Pack sent to all new staff.  Staff requesting eye-tests who have not yet acknowledged receipt and understanding of the College's fire procedures will be asked to do so before an eye test will be arranged.

Under the regulations employers must arrange an eye-test for employees who request one in advance and are DSE 'users'. Not all staff are entitled 'users'. Birkbeck follows the HSE's guidance on the definition of DSE 'users' i.e. users of DSE for near continuous spells of one hour or more at a time, more or less daily. HSE guidance also states that staff using DSE occasionally for limited purposes e.g. reception staff, are not entitled 'users'.

Scope of the eye-test:
The eye-test is to determine whether the employee has any defect of sight which requires correction when working with a display screen i.e. provision of special corrective appliances solely for DSE use. 

The eye-test provider:
Birkbeck is entitled, under the regulations, to specify the eye-test provider.  Currently, Birkbeck has an account arrangement with Specsavers - nearest outlet in the Brunswick Centre.    Specsavers will carry out eye-tests under the DSE Regulations, provide written DSE reports on the eyesight of those tested to Birkbeck and supply special corrective appliances if specifically required for DSE.   Birkbeck will normally only pay for DSE eye-tests carried out by Specsavers and only then if Birkbeck has supplied the employee with an eye test voucher in advance.

Provision of special corrective appliances:
Single vision spectacles will be appropriate in many cases. If Specsavers is of the opinion that an entitled employee with a voucher supplied by Birkbeck requires such glasses solely for DSE purposes he/she will inform them of this and issue a report to the College Health and Safety Officer to that effect plus Specsavers will allow the employee to select a pair of glasses from their £45 range.  If the user already wears glasses but needs others specifically for DSE tasks and would repeatedly have to change from one pair of spectacles to another because they frequently mix their DSE tasks with others requiring different viewing distances - then multiple focus lenses (varifocals) might be a solution though they can introduce neck pain.  The eye-test provider will notify Birkbeck in writing as to whether and what type of special corrective appliances are/were required. 

Intervals between eye-tests:
The College will accept the advice of Specsavers's optometrists in such matters. However, as a guide, the usual interval between eye-tests for employees previously diagnosed as requiring spectacles solely for DSE use is 12 months and 24 months for employees previously diagnosed as satisfying the DSE eyesight standard without special corrective appliances and not experiencing new visual difficulties that may be related to DSE work in the interim.

To obtain a prepaid DSE eye test voucher - please contact the College Health and Safety Officer by email. Voucher costs will be recharged to the relevant school or PS department.

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Health & Safety Services, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Tel: 020 7631 6218, email: