Video Display Terminals

When one speaks of VDT usage in the office environment they are most commonly referring to a micro-computer video screen or a computer remote terminal screen. The acronym “VDT” means Visual Display Terminal. The computer screen is also called a CRT or Cathode Ray Tube, hence many articles on this subject will talk about the CRT user. Others may use the acronym “VDU” rather than VDT. The abbreviation of VDU stands for Visual Display Unit. These three acronyms (VDT, CRT, VDU) are interchangeable.

Both the Federal Government and the State of Maine have enacted laws requiring Safety Standards for Operators of Video Display Terminals. The law requires training of all VDT operators, defined as employees whose primary job, for at least half of their typical workday (four consecutive hours, exclusive of breaks), involves work at a video display terminal. All new operators must receive training within one month of their employment. Training is typically accomplished at New Employee Orientation or through written materials obtained from the Environmental Health and Safety Office.

The VDT user’s comfort, performance, and productivity are directly related to the physical, psychological, and emotional well being of the VDT user. The VDT operation involves complex interactions between VDT User/VDT System/ Environment. A study of the key elements must include the ergonomics of the VDT user (Person), the characteristics and ergonomics of the CRT screen and the VDT furniture, and the physical aspects of the space (luminous, thermal, acoustical Environment).

Individual work site evaluations are conducted by the campus Ergonomics Committee, which may be contacted through the Human Resources Department.

Source: Section 508, Bates College Employee Handbook.