Developing and writing an eyecare policy
In the latest of our Eye Health advice articles, we look at why developing an eye care policy is so important and what it should look like.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, state that every employer shall:
- perform a suitable and sufficient analysis of [employee] workstations,
- ensure that any workstation first put into service on or after 1st January 1993… meets the requirements laid down in the Schedule to these Regulations,
- plan the activities of users at work in his undertaking that their daily work on display screen equipment is periodically interrupted by such breaks or changes of activity as reduce their workload at that equipment,
- ensure that operators and users at work in his undertaking are provided with adequate information about… all aspects of health and safety relating to their workstations,
- ensure that each user employed by him/ her is provided with special corrective appliances appropriate for the work being done by the user concerned.
Put simply, this means employers have a responsibility to ensure a suitable work environment is available, and provide information to staff regarding the company’s duties in respect of eyesight tests.
In order to do this, an Eyecare Policy needs to be developed.
What to include in an Eyecare Policy?
Explain the policy – the main explanation should be to ensure employees who use Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regularly minimise any risk to their health arising from exposure to DSE or the layout of their workstation.
- Outline legislation – including the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations of 1992 and The Provision of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
- Definitions – provide explanations of the key terms used such as “DSE”, “workstation” etc.
- Responsibilities – define the role of the employer in meeting the DSE regulations such as paying for eye tests and the arrangement for breaks and outline relevant procedures. This should also include steps employees themselves can take to minimise the effects of Visual Display Units (VDU).
- Risk Assessment – explain the minimum workstation requirements.
- Training – ensure general background information about VDU health and safety is provided and outline any appropriate training sessions.
- Monitoring – outline the frequency of assessments and any training for VDU users.
- Record Keeping – develop an appropriate system to log when staff have eye tests and ensure these are followed up at the required interval (usually two years).
Once the Eyecare Policy is agreed and in place, employers need to launch and communicate the policy and any subsequent schemes to all staff. Check back later this week when we will look at communicating an Eyecare Policy.
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