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Display screen equipment work: Work routine and breaks

The law says employers must plan work so there are breaks or changes of activity for employees who are display screen equipment (DSE) users.

There is no legal guidance about how long and how often breaks should be for DSE work. It depends on the kind of work you are doing. Take short breaks often, rather than longer ones less often. For example 5 to 10 minutes every hour is better than 20 minutes every 2 hours. Ideally, users should be able to choose when to take breaks.

In most jobs it is possible to stop DSE work to do other tasks, such as going to meetings or making phone calls. If there are no natural changes of activity in a job, employers should plan rest breaks.

Breaks or changes of activity should allow users to get up from their workstations and move around, or at least stretch and change posture.

Break-monitoring software

Break-monitoring software can remind users to take regular breaks. But employers are still responsible for making sure work activities are properly planned and that users take suitable breaks.

More DSE guidance

Eyes and eyesight testing for DSE work

Working safely with DSE

Updated 2018-03-20