Visual Display Equipment
  • Lighting, Glare and Reflection and Noise. These are general office specifications but apply also to workstations. The requirements are for adequate but not excessive lighting, avoidance of glare or reflection from windows and reasonable levels of noise. (For these and other requirements outlined below, more detailed specifications are contained in the University Code of Practice on Office Safety and VDU Use.)
  • Display Screen Equipment: The display screen itself must be able to be positioned and angled for comfortable viewing.
  • Chairs and Desks: Chairs should have a base with at least five castors (star wheeled) for stability and easy movement, should be able to swivel easily and be adjustable in height and in back support. Desks should have adequate surface area to accommodate equipment and documents, manuals etc., be of appropriate height and have sufficient leg/knee space.
  • Keyboards: The position of the keyboard on the desk should be such as to allow 100mm in front of the keyboard. Keys should be clearly marked.
  • Footrests: These may be appropriate depending on the physical stature of the user.
  • Floor: The floor covering should be such as to allow the wheels of the chair to move freely.


  • Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) a musculo-skeletal disorder, the symptoms of which include pain, swollen soft tissue, restricted joint movement, loss of function and possible permanent disability. Users of keyboards who are not trained typists are more susceptible to such problems.
  • Eye Strain: Evidence indicates that using DSE is not associated with damage to the eyes or eyesight although uncorrected defects can increase the stress of working with such equipment.
  • Fatigue and stress. 


  • Avoidance of RSI. Good ergonomically designed seating arrangements and posture when using the keyboard or mouse. Frequent breaks either resting the fingers and wrists or carrying out alternative work provided it does not involve the use of the joints in a manner similar to keyboard use. Further details are given in the University Code of Practice referenced below.
  • Eye strain. If defective vision is suspected, users are entitled to vision screening and full eyesight test if necessary. If prescribed for VDU work, basic spectacles can be supplied but remain the property of the University.
  • Fatigue and stress can be reduced by providing a sympathetic working environment. Computer programs should be as far as possible "user friendly" and allow for the recovery of errors. (It is recognised that this will not always be possible in research work but it should be a major consideration in office computing.)

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Adapted with permission from School of Chemistry, University of Bristol