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The general work environment also needs to be included when looking at DSE. Problems with the environment are just as important at the factors already covered. The environment includes general workspace, lighting and ventilation.

There needs to be sufficient workspace for you to carry out your duties without being restricted by furniture, objects or even other people!

The environment is covered by section six of the HSE DSE Checklist (point to this page) let’s review the question is asks;

1. Is there enough room to change position and vary movement? Everyone needs space to move, stretch and fidget! Ensure that you can do this without causing yourself any injuries by trip and snag hazards. It may be that the office needs reorganising to allow for this space.

2. Is the lighting suitable, e.g. not too bright or too dim to work comfortably? Light changes throughout the day and as such employees need to be able to control the flow of light. This can be as simple as adjusting the blinds or switching on or off the lights.  Consideration can be given to desk lamps which have many benefits, if used please ensure that this does not cause glare or reflection on your screen.

3. Does the air feel comfortable? Where possible the circulation of fresh air is preferable and the use of plants and help the circulation of air. You need to be able to breath fresh air as often as possible, this helps to maintain alertness but also to keep the body healthy.
Air conditioning units and fans can often make the air feel uncomfortable, ensure that these are not directly blowing on individuals within the environment.

4. Are levels of heat comfortable? Can the heating be controlled? Consider ventilation by opening a window or by switching on the air conditioning. If none of these can be achieved then consider moving away from the heat source.

5. Are levels of noise comfortable? Consider moving away from sources of noise, e.g. printers, away from the user, lighting, noise, ventilation.

The lighting should be sufficient to meet the needs of the office, there should not be excess lights from the glare of the sun or excessive lighting.
Noise levels should be at a minimum, if there is any excess noise then steps should be taken to prevent hearing damage.