New figures from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare suggest there is a lack compliance among SMEs with the Health and Safety Display Screen Equipment regulations. The research shows that 44% of SMEs provide no eyecare at all to screen users, compared to 20% of larger companies. Businesses with less than 10 employees are the least likely to comply, with two-thirds (66%) providing screen users with no eyecare whatsoever.
In fact, just 10% of SMEs are fully complying with the DSE regulations by providing both eye tests and glasses. Although over a quarter (26%) of SMEs do provide eye tests for all screen users, it is the provision of glasses that seems to be the sticking point.
Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, explained: ‘Under health and safety regulations, the employer must provide not only eye tests for all screen users but also glasses, but only if they are required solely for DSE use. This is the case regardless of the number of employees or the size of the company. The rules are specific about DSE use and employers are not obliged to fund glasses if screen users need them for everyday use as well.’
Drilling down further into the figures, 13% of SMEs provide eye tests for some screen users, but not all, and 7% correctly provide both eye tests and glasses for DSE use but still fail in that they only provide these for some screen users. Added to the 26% providing eye tests only and the 10% actually fully complying with the regulations, and a stronger 56% (over half of SMEs) are at least providing some level of eyecare to screen users. This compares, however, to 80% of larger companies. The research also shows that SME employers on average class around 67% of their employees as screen users.
Jim Lythgow, continued: ‘The good news is that there is an overall willingness among SMEs to provide eyecare but this is not to the extent as required by law. We believe there are two vital elements in increasing the number of employers complying with the DSE regulations: the first is to ensure they are educated about the full requirements of the legislation; the second is to make DSE eyecare as simple and cost effective as possible to procure.’
Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has worked hard to raise the profile of the DSE eyecare. Its website includes a knowledge bank for employers and useful tools, like downloadable posters, to communicate benefits to employees. With simplicity being the key to eyecare procurement, Specsavers has created an online eyecare management system, where employers can purchase, distribute and manage eyecare eVouchers with just a few clicks of a button.
The eVoucher system caters for companies of all sizes as there is no contract, and no tie-in; employers can make a one-off purchase of as few as just five eVouchers. It is also possible for employers to use DSE eVouchers to allow the employee to upgrade, using the eVoucher as a contribution towards higher priced glasses, or glasses that are for everyday wear as well screen use.
To view the online resources, find out more information, or purchase eyecare eVouchers visit www.specsavers.co.uk/corporate
More information on the Health and Safety (display screen equipment) Regulations can be found at www.hse.gov.uk