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Work with display screen equipment

This Directive protects European workers using display screen equipment at their workstation. It lays down specific obligations for employers in addition to the general provisions concerning workers’ health and safety.


Council Directive 90/270/EEC of 29 May 1990 on the minimum safety and health requirements for work with display screen equipment (fifth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) [Official Journal L 156 of 21.6.1990] [See amending act(s)].


European legislation protects the safety and health of workers using display screen equipment *.

This Directive contains individual provisions intended to supplement the general provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC concerning health and safety at work.

However, this Directive does not apply to:

  • workstations * and computer systems on board a means of transport;
  • computer systems mainly intended for public use;
  • portable systems, except in prolonged use at a workstation;
  • equipment having a small display (calculators, cash registers, etc.);
  • traditional typewriters.

Employers' obligations

In order to ensure the safety and health of workers, employers are obliged to:

  • perform an evaluation of workstations, and bring them into line with the requirements of the Directive (Annex),
  • inform, consult and train workers with regard to all measures connected with their health and safety.

In addition, the daily activities of workers using display screen equipment must be interrupted by breaks or changes of activity.

In addition, workers must undergo an eye and eyesight test before commencing their display screen work, and then at regular intervals during their activities and if visual difficulties develop. If necessary, workers must be provided with special corrective appliances, without charge.

Key terms
  • Display screen equipment: an alphanumeric or graphic display screen, regardless of the display process employed.
  • Workstation: refers to the work surface, display screen equipment, additional equipment and accessories (keyboard, telephone, printer, etc.).


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 90/270/EEC



OJ L 156 of 21.6.1990

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2007/30/EC



OJ L 165 of 27.6.2007


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the practical implementation of the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Directives 89/391/EEC (framework), 89/654/EEC (workplaces), 89/655/EEC (work equipment), 89/656/EEC (personal protective equipment), 90/269/EEC (manual handling of loads) and 90/270/EEC (display screen equipment) [COM(2004) 62 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 03.11.2011
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