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Ergonomics Directive

The Issue

The Ergonomics Directive is in reaction to the rising number of cases of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), caused from prolonged working at display screens. 

The law would have meant employees using cash registers and smart phones having to have a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment. The financial impact for UK employers would have increased. They would have been responsible for paying for eye tests and if necessary, glasses, for employees who were previously illegible for DSE assessments.

While our members take health and safety concerns very seriously, we want changes to be proportionate, risk-based and fair for all sizes of business.

Action FSB have taken

  • We argued that this directive would go against the EU’s commitment to ‘Smarter Regulations’. It would have placed extra burdens on small firms across the EU.
  • We called for more evidence to be given to support the removal of the current low-risk exemption categories for card-readers and cash registers.

Our Goal

We called for a balanced approach to the introduction of any changes to the Ergonomics Directive. We believed an increased sedentary lifestyle and the massive growth in personal use of smart phones and laptops makes it difficult to assess how individual choices may have contributed to MSD. Rather than introduce new laws for small firms to comply with, we asked policy makers to instead raise awareness and improve existing legislation.

Achievements in...



  • We lobbied MEPs to agree to changes to EU legislation should not over burden small firms
  • The UK has a very good health and safety record. We lobbied MEPs to focus regulation changes to countries where more effort is needed in compliance
  • The Ergonomics Directive proposal was withdrawn
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Related Links

Vuew the European Union website