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Written Answers. - Use of Visual Display Units.

Wednesday, 28 February 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 462 No. 3

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 99. Mr. B. O'Keeffe Information on Batt O'Keeffe Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  the concerns, if any, he has at the damage to eyesight caused by the incorrect use of computer screens. [4167/96]

[795]Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton There is no medical evidence to suggest that work with computer display screen equipment causes adverse effects on eyes or eyesight, or leads to worsening of existing conditions. However, working with badly adjusted or defective equipment can give rise to temporary eye fatigue, symptoms of which include red or sore eyes and headaches.

The use of display screens is governed by Part VII of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 1993 (S.I. No. 44 of 1993) which, inter alia, implements Council Directive 90/270/EEC on the minimum health and safety requirements for work with display screen equipment. These regulations came into effect on 22 February, 1993 and set out the factors to be taken into account by employers in relation to the use of display screens. In addition, employers are required to provide employees with comprehensive health and safety information about work involving the use of visual display units.

Adherence to the provisions of the regulations concerning the design of computer software and equipment, location and layout of the workstation and design of the work activity will minimise the instance of eye fatigue and other conditions associated with work involving computer equipment.

The regulations also require that employers make appropriate eyesight tests available to employees who habitually use display screen equipment as a significant part of their normal work. Employers are further obliged, should the results of such tests require, to have an opthalmological examination carried out on the employee concerned. Where corrective appliances are required and where normal corrective appliances are not adequate the employer is required to provide the employee concerned with special corrective appliances appropriate to his or her work.

The Health and Safety Authority which is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of these regulations [796] has recently published detailed guidelines on the operation of the 1993 regulations in order to assist employers in fulfilling their obligations under those regulations including the correct use of computer equipment.

I am satisfied that the legal provisions I have mentioned afford adequate protection to employees whose work involves using computer display screen equipment.

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