New research has been carried out by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare into the eyecare policies of UK businesses and organisations showing that employers are still falling short of the Health and Safety regulations.
Nearly a third of employers surveyed still have no eyecare policy in place for their employees. This is despite the fact that 75 percent of employers say the majority of their employees use display screen equipment on a regular basis, which means they would be classed as ‘screen users’ and should, therefore, be provided with eyecare, under the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations.
Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, says:
‘The DSE regulations have been in place since 1992. They state that all regular users of display screens must be provided with company-funded eye tests and glasses, if required solely for DSE use. Yet, 24 years later, there are still many employers not providing the appropriate eyecare.’
The research goes on to reveal what may be the reason for this contravention of the Health and Safety regulations: Just a quarter of employers said they fully understood the DSE regulations. Nearly half said they understood the basics but not the fine detail. 17 percent said they understood very little, or didn’t really understand them at all, and 9 percent were not even aware of the regulations.
Jim Lythgow explained: ‘
The DSE regulations may be difficult to understand for some. There are many intricacies surrounding exactly who is covered, depending upon the precise amount and nature of screen use. This is why it is often better for employers to provide a cost-effective eyecare scheme for all employees, rather than to spend time and money trying to work out who can legitimately be excluded from the scheme.’
Employers may be put off from providing eyecare by wrongly perceiving the costs. Over three quarters of those surveyed thought a reasonable price for a full eye examination and glasses, solely for DSE use, would be over £20. Around half thought over £40 would be reasonable, over a quarter thought more than £60 was reasonable, and 14% stated between £80 and £100. In fact, DSE eyecare vouchers, providing both the full eye examination and glasses, solely for DSE use, are available for just £17. With so many employers overestimating how much DSE eyecare is likely to cost, it is perhaps not surprising that the levels of provision are much lower than they should be.
To assist employers in understanding the DSE regulations, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has produced a free downloadable guide available at: www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate/employers