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Work with display screen equipment



Directive 90/270/EEC on the minimum safety and health requirements for work with display screen equipment


It lays down minimum safety and health requirements for work with display screen equipment* in the European Union (EU).



The directive contains rules that supplement the general rules contained in Directive 89/391/EEC concerning health and safety of workers at work (see summary).

It should be noted, however, that this directive does not apply to:

  • drivers’ cabins or control cabs for vehicles or machinery;
  • computer systems on board a means of transport;
  • computer systems mainly intended for public use;
  • portable systems, except in prolonged use at a workstation*;
  • calculators, cash registers and any equipment having a small data or measurement display required for direct use of the equipment;
  • typewriters of traditional design, of the type known as ‘typewriters with window’.

Employers’ obligations

  • To ensure the safety and health of workers, employers are obliged to:
    • perform an analysis of workstations in order to evaluate the safety and health conditions, and to take appropriate measures to remedy the risks found and bring them in line with the requirements of the directive;
    • inform workers about and provide training on all measures connected to their health and safety, and relating to their workstation.
  • In addition, they must plan the activities of workers in such a way that daily work on display screen equipment is periodically interrupted by breaks or changes of activity.
  • They must provide workers with training regarding the use of the workstation before commencing this type of work, and whenever there is a substantial change made to the organisation of the workstation.

Protection of workers’ eyes and eyesight

  • Workers are entitled to an eye and eyesight test before commencing their display screen work, and again at regular intervals during their activities and if they experience visual difficulties.
  • If necessary and if normal corrective appliances cannot be used, workers must be provided with special corrective appliances appropriate for the work concerned, without charge.

Delegated acts

The European Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 10a of Regulation (EU) 2019/1243, to make strictly technical amendments to the annex, in order to take account of technical progress, developments in international regulations or specifications and knowledge in the field of display screen equipment.

Review of the legislation

As part of its strategic framework on health and safety at work 2021–2027, published in June 2021, the Commission is planning to review Directive 90/270/EEC in view of digitalisation since the directive was first adopted.


Directive 90/270/EEC has applied since 11 June 1990 and had to become law (transposition) in the EU Member States by 31 December 1992.


For further information, see:


Display screen equipment. An alphanumeric or graphic display screen, regardless of the display process employed.
Workstation. An assembly comprising display screen equipment, which may be provided with a keyboard or input device and/or software determining the operator/machine interface, optional accessories, peripherals including the diskette drive, telephone, modem, printer, document holder, work chair and work desk or work surface, and the immediate work environment.


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) (OJ L 156, 21.6.1990, pp. 14–18).

Successive amendments to Directive 90/270/EEC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – EU strategic framework on health and safety at work 2021–2027 – occupational safety and health in a changing world of work (COM(2021) 323 final, 28.6.2021).

Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, pp. 1–8).

See consolidated version.

last update 10.11.2021