Guide

Computer health and safety at work

Laptop health and safety

Some of the design features on laptops and other portable computers can make them uncomfortable to use for long periods. Employees shouldn't routinely use laptops where full-sized equipment is available. Alternatively, they should be provided with a laptop docking station so that they can work with a full-sized keyboard and screen.

What to consider when buying laptops

When you're thinking about buying portable computers, they should ideally:

  • be as light as possible - 3 kilograms or under
  • be fitted with as large and clear a screen as possible - preferably detachable or height-adjustable
  • come with a lightweight carrying case with handle and shoulder straps
  • have as long a battery life as possible and have extra transformer/cable sets so that the user has a set in each main location where the equipment is used
  • have a tilt-adjustable keyboard
  • be able to be used with a docking station
  • have friction pads underneath to prevent the laptop from sliding across work surfaces
  • have enough memory and speed for the software used

Employee laptop training

You must provide training for employees using portable display screen equipment (DSE).

In addition to ordinary DSE training, training for laptop users should include information on:

  • comfortable postures for using a laptop
  • using the keyboard at the right height
  • adjusting the screen to reduce reflection and glare
  • the need for regular rest breaks
  • how to report any problems that develop
  • how to reduce the manual handling risk, eg by reducing the amount of extra equipment and paperwork to be carried
  • how to reduce the risk from theft or mugging