As part of this responsibility, the employer must communicate this requirement to employees. The employer may do this in a number of ways- the most common method is during the DSE assessment but mailshots, Intranet reminders, and HR Induction programmes are also used. The form of communication used must be proven to be effective so that employees can avail of their entitlement.
Who Gets It?
Every employee who habitually uses a Visual Display Unit (VDU) as a significant part of normal work has a right to opt for an appropriate eye test and an eyesight test which must be made available and paid for by the employer. If agency workers are entitled to this service, the host employer should determine at the outset of the contract- who is responsible for providing the service including who will cover the cost of the DSE assessment and the eye and eye sight test.
Who is Competent to do the Test?
A doctor or optometrist can carry this test out. It may also be carried out by a person (including a nurse) trained to use a vision-screening machine. The person operating the machine must know when to refer employees who do not pass the eyesight tests at the screening level to a doctor or optometrist. This can be done in-house but many companies choose to use large optician service providers. A corporate contract can be negotiated to ensure the test is covered and billed back to the employer, and then if glasses are required for VDU use, a cap can be put on the cost of these. If the employee wishes to top us this amount- they are free to do that.
When (and how often) should the Test be done?
Employees have the right to an eye and eyesight test before taking up work if it is habitual work with DSE as well as at regular intervals thereafter. In determining the intervals, factors such as the ages of the employees and the intensity of the work should be taken into account in deciding the frequency of repeat tests. Additionally, an appropriate eye and eyesight test must be made available to an employee who experiences visual difficulties which may be due to display screen work.
Where eye tests carried out by the doctor or optometrist reveal that particular lenses are required for VDU work, the costs of minimum requirement frames and lenses must be borne by the employer. Where an employee already wears glasses to correct a visual defect (normal corrective appliances), and routine change of lenses arises, if these glasses are adequate also for VDU work, the employer is not liable as regards meeting the cost. The cost of dealing with more general eye problems which are revealed as a result of the tests and which are not directly related to working with a VDU is a matter for the employee as part of his or her general health care, taking account of health care entitlements.
Changes to PRSI
The Government announced at the end of October that it had expanded the range of optical (and dental) services available to PRSI contributors. Since 28 October 2017, employees can get a payment once every second calendar year, towards either one pair each of reading and distance spectacles or one pair of bifocal or varifocals. Cost will vary depending on the frames that are selected. Basic frames will be provided free of charge.
For employers, it is important to note that optical benefits do not include VDU eye and eyesight tests. For further information click on the link below.
If there are any additional queries, please do not hesitate to contact Elaine Bowers, OHS Executive Elaine.Bowers@ibec.ie.
Thursday, 16 November 2017