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VDU breaks

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Hi ,


I wonder if anyone could advise.



I work in a large very busy control centre doing 12 hour shifts. We are in front of 3-4 large PC screens at a time and are entitled to a total of 2 hours breaks in the 12 hour shift - but one of these 20 minute breaks is called a "training break" - where you are expected to log onto a PC somewhere (e.g. staff room) and read up latest bulletins, work updates etc


This training break was introduced about 4 years ago when we had to change over to a new computer operating system , that once we had completed the 4 day training course we had to practise using it for 20 mins every day before it went live (they had to train around 450 people and the new system did not go live until about a year after i had my training , so it made sense to have to play with it for 20 mins each shift )


This was brought in with union agreement i hasten to add


When this new system was brought in a lot of us highlighted that the font was too small but we were told nothing could be done to change it (this system cost around £23 million ) . Since then a lot of us have now had to start wearing glasses with VDU lenses (we can claim back some of the cost for a yearly eyesight test/lenses) and each year my eyesight has worsened


so basically i get 5 x 20 min breaks in a 12 hour shift away from a PC screen - i have been told that with VDU regulations i should get a total of 120 mins over a 12 hour shift away from a PC , but with the 20 mins i have to use as a "training break" this goes against that ?

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Who gave you that advice then? It isn' the law... what does your H&S rep say?




Also correlation =/= causation. My eyes get worse as I age. Many other people's eyes do the same....


What outcome are you looking for?

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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The law has now changed on this matter as the displays are now energy efficient compared to the old CRT monitors


Just looking away from the screen for a moment is enough to break the cycle.


Such matters are now done on individual risk assessments of the operator. How is their vision, do they suffer from epilepsy etc? It is not as though you are working continuously on a production line as an example.


If you have an issue working with these displays then you have a legal obligation to bring it to the attention of management under Regulation 7 Health and safety at Work Act 1974


7 General duties of employees at work.


It shall be the duty of every employee while at work—

(a)to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at work; and



It will be then up to the employer to manage the risk under Regulation 3 Management of Health and Safety at Work Rergulations1999


Risk assessment


3.—(1) Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of—


(a)the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and


(b)the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking,

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As above


They are legally responsible to not force you to squint




please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

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thanks for the replies .


we have a H+S rep but works at a different site , have spoke to union rep to bring it up , unfortunately has very little power in the workplace as 90% of staff never back them up so management do what they want . When i spoke to our union rep they suggested that there understanding of time away from screens was agreed many years ago as 120 mins per shift - management introduced this 20 min training thing specifically for a changeover to a new computer system which we have now been using for several years and refuse to remove these so called "training breaks"


what i am basically after is we are expected to spend 20 mins logging off from one pc to then go to the staff room and log onto another one to complete on-line training etc . i notice this from the VDU regs :




the have had DSE assessors in to check the workstations and they say there fine, although when i showed an optician a photo of our workplace he cringed and commented that it no surprise we have to wear glasses !

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once again I ask; what are you trying to achieve here? What is your preferred outcome?


You have had DSE in and they say all is well. That pretty much closes the debate.


Clearly you are expected to log in elsewhere as the bosses say you are


Get your rep down for advice; I am sure they are able to move sites for a day on request.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Yes , we had DSE assessors in that are employed by the company i work for and are senior management - does not really install much confidence in there impartiality


I suppose i was just after those 20 mins back to put my feet up ...:)

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Heh.. it's a VDU break, not a break... easily replaced by filing.. be careful!

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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