Health & Safety
On-screen marking and working with DSE
It is recognised that there is a considerable
cultural shift involved in the move to electronic submission,
marking and feedback. This has also created changes in
working practices and in computer use. In order to support academic
staff the following practical advice has been supplied and links
have also been provided to relevant Health and Safety
In order to help with electronic marking, it may be possible for
academic colleagues to request a 19” monitor through Information
Library Services (ILS) - call 6696. Additionally, your faculty
might be prepared to invest in a range of other hardware to support
the move to electronic marking, such as dual monitors, lightweight
laptops, tablet devices or e-book readers.
All staff who regularly use computers are recommended to
visit the following website http://www.openerg.com/dse/ which
provides detailed online instruction and guidance on:
• Safe set up for your computer/workstation
• An online self-assessment to receive advice on your current
set up and usage
• A symptoms page to help you address possible health issues
caused or being exacerbated by computer use.
In addition, the following learning package related to effective
use of computer equipment is also available to view: DSE Online Learning
Package by Swansea College.
Adjust your chair and DSE to find the most comfortable position
for your work. As a broad guide, your forearms should be
approximately horizontal and your eyes the same height as the top
of the monitor, and for many individuals this may mean raising
their monitor. Purpose designed stands are available to order
from Print Services through their ‘Office Depot’ catalogue.
Make sure you have enough work space to take whatever documents
or other equipment you need. Try different arrangements of
keyboard, screen, mouse and documents to find the best arrangement
for you. A document holder (also available to order from Print
Services) may help you avoid awkward neck and eye movements.
Arrange your desk to avoid glare, or bright reflections on the
screen. This will be easiest if neither you nor the screen is
directly facing windows or bright lights. Adjust curtains or blinds
to prevent unwanted light.
Make sure there is space under your desk to move your legs freely.
Move any obstacles such as boxes or equipment.
Avoid excess pressure from the edge of your seat on the backs of
your legs and knees. A footrest may be helpful, particularly for
||Equipment which may help: Monitor stands, foot
rests, back rest.
Adjust your keyboard to get a good keying position.
Fine-tune your setup so that your wrists are not working at an
angle from your forearms and try keeping the ‘feet’ on your
keyboard down to encourage a reduction in this angle. A space
in front of the keyboard is also recommended for resting the
hands and wrists when not keying.
Try to keep your wrists straight when keying. Keep a soft touch
on the keys and don't overstretch your fingers. Good keyboard
technique is important.
||Equipment which may help: Keyboard wrist rest,
mouse wrist rest, specialised keyboard.
Using a mouse
Position the mouse within easy reach, so it can also be used
with the wrist straight. Sit upright and close to the desk, so you
don't have to work with your mouse arm stretched and can also
support your forearm on the desk (move the keyboard out of the way
if it is not being used).
As with the keyboard rest your fingers lightly on the buttons
and do not press them hard or grip the mouse too
||Equipment which may help: Keyboard wrist rest,
mouse wrist rest, specialised mouse.
Reading the screen
Make sure the screen surface is clean and adjust the brightness
and contrast controls on the screen to suit lighting conditions in
When working from the screen make sure that the text size
is large enough to read easily on your screen, when you are
sitting in a normal, comfortable working position. You can
instantly alter text screen size by holding the ‘Control’ key and
scrolling the centralised mouse wheel. Alternatively, on your
keyboard you can use the Ctrl key and the + and - keys to
adjust the font size.
All staff who use computers are also entitled to an eye test
through their normal optician and a refund of up to £15 is
available by claiming through Staff expenses. It is also
possible to claim a contribution towards glasses needed for
computer use. (Link to H&S Staff pages here).
||Equipment which may help: Larger monitor, dual
monitor setup, back rest, monitor wipes
Posture and breaks
When on line marking you may find yourself sitting at a computer
screen more than you have previously been used to, so try not to
sit in the same position for long periods and change your posture
as often as you can. Some movement is desirable, but avoid repeated
stretching to reach things you need (if this happens a lot,
rearrange your workstation).
It is also really important to take regular breaks from
the screenwork and desk if you can; frequent short breaks are
better than fewer long ones.
||Equipment which may help: More suitable chair,
back rest/support, foot stand. All equipment is available through
Print Services. Speak to your line manager
Additional Health Support
After completion of one year’s service, all staff will
automatically benefit from a Leeds Hospital Fund (LHF) Healthplan.
This is paid for by the University and allows you to claim back
expenses to a certain level on certain medical treatments many of
which could help with more comfortable computer use and general
wellbeing. These include:
• Eye care and Optical costs
• Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Osteopathy and Chiropractic.
Details of the LHF allowances will be sent automatically after
completion of a year's service. More information on the
Healthplan is also available from the HR webpages or through
Staff Benefits document.
Information and Training
The university's IT & TEL Trainer offers face-to-face
training on effective on-screen marking practice. One-to-one
support is also available on request from members of the Technology
Enhanced Learning Team.
All staff are strongly recommended to access
the Openerg website to complete
the set up and self-assessment. Any individuals still suffering
from difficulties with their workstation and computer after having
completed the self-assessment, should notify their line
manager or speak to their local DSE assessor.
Further information on DSE at York St John is also available
from the Health & Safety pages of the
None of this information has helped me, I still have
If you feel that you have a personal condition
or diagnosis which is either preventing you from or
making it very difficult for you to adopt electronic marking and
feedback processes, please raise your concerns with your line
manager, who should be able to take things forward.