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2020 Vision – Eye tests and duty of care for employees

eye test

Written by Martha Mitchell

October 6, 2020

During the Coronavirus Pandemic working from home via virtual platforms has become part of the new normal.

From client meetings,team meetings, network meetings to training courses our eyes are taking a strain.

Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which stretches so far as to include protecting their eyes when using visual display units.

The law says employers must arrange an eye test for display screen equipment (DSE) users if they ask for one, and provide glasses if an employee needs them only for DSE use. If long period of time during the day are in front of a DSE then this can lead to:

  • tired eyes
  • discomfort
  • temporary short-sightedness
  • headaches

Display Screen Equipment work is visually demanding, so it can make someone aware of eyesight problems they have not noticed before (including changes in eyesight that happen with age).

Employees can help their eyes by:

  • checking the screen is well positioned and properly adjusted
  • making sure lighting conditions are suitable
  • taking regular breaks from screen work

Employers must assess DSE workstationsand take steps to reduce any health risks.

An employer must provide an eyesight test for a DSE user if they request one. The employer must also pay for the test.

An employee can request an eye test and this must be paid for by their employer. This must be a full eye sight and vision test by an optometrist or doctor.

It’s up to the employer how they provide the test. For example, they could let users arrange the tests and reimburse them for the cost later, or they could send all their DSE users to one optician.

Employers only have to pay for glasses for DSE work if the test shows an employee needs special glasses prescribed for the distance the screen is viewed at. If an ordinary prescription is suitable, employers do not have to pay for glasses. These expenses are tax deductible for employers.

For any further information on your duty of care for employees. Get in touch. 

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