Are You Really Storing Records and Files in an Attic? Time to Check Your Workman’s Comp Insurance!
When it comes to storing your business records, you want to be sure your method is safe and secure for all parties involved. That also includes your employees under your supervision. Perhaps you’re storing all your required files and records in the attic of your building. While that may have worked in the past, there are better and more secure ways of storing your files now. If you are still storing those files and items in the attic or on upper floors, there are a few things you need to be aware of. For instance, are you sure your insurance is covering the employees handling those files? Most workman’s comp and insurance only cover up to 50 pounds for office staff to lift, and never covers ladders above a few feet.
Make sure that if you’re going to stay with the storage in the attic method, that you check out a few of these tips down below. Also, keep in mind that you may need to rethink how you store after you’ve taken inventory.
Does This Method Put Employees at Risk?
When your employees are getting records or putting them back where they belong, are you putting them at risk of injury during the process? If you do not have stairs to your attic, there is a huge risk of injury when a ladder is in use. Your employees may fall down or off the ladder while trying to carry the files and boxes up or down the ladder itself. Even asking employees to drag heavy boxes around, or up and down stairs is an issue that should be reviewed. This can cause huge problems if you’re not sure of insurance coverage, which leads to the next critical point to keep in mind.
Does Your Liability/Worker’s Compensation Insurance Cover Ladder Usage?
Consider this. When you use the attic for storage, your files can be in heavy boxes that have to be carried up and down those ladders. Perhaps you even have stairs that can be utilized to get the boxes up and down. While that is better than a ladder, there is still a risk of falls and injuries while carrying those heavy boxes up and down. Does your insurance account for workplace injuries such as this? What would happen if an employee were carrying a box up the stairs and fell? Would your insurance cover them or would this cause a huge problem?
You need to be sure that your liability and worker’s compensation coverage is in place to account for all possibilities on the worksite. Make sure you consult with your insurance representative if you’re going to store items in this manner to guarantee that all aspects are covered. You do not want an injured employee, nor do you want to face an injury such as this without some coverage in place.
Consider Safety of the Records
What about the records and information itself? Are they safe and protected in the attic? First, you need to consider the atmosphere you putting them in. Most attics do not have ventilation in them so they are hot and musty most of the year. They can also face extreme temperature differences depending on the insulation you’ve placed in the attic area.
What about rodents or bugs that can gain access to the attic area? What would happen if they started destroying files in the attic and those were the only copies you had? What type of issues would that raise for you? You need to consider the fact that the safety of your files and information could all be at risk. Not only from damage from outside, unwanted visitors, but also damage from the weather, conditions in the attic or the fact that someone could gain access.
Reliability of the System
Another highly crucial point of storing your files in the attic is to consider how reliable the system is. Can you count on this file management system when you need to access files? Consider this example. You’re working on a customer file or a case and you need quick access to a folder or information that is stored up in the attic. How long will it take you to get to that file? Do you easily know where everything is or will it take a little while to find the file in the attic boxes above? Is this customer sitting right in front of you and you have to leave them to go find a file or have someone else go and find it for you?
Reliability and accessibility are two very important items to consider when you’re storing important information and files in your workplace. You want to be able to easily put your hands on the file and information you need, when you need to. You do not want to have to wait or make your customer wait for a long period so you can go and hunt the file down.
While filing in the attic may have been a great way to store items in the past, there are new and easier file management systems today that can help you streamline your business. If you’re still wanting to utilize the attic storage, then be sure to consider the above-mentioned ideas and tips. You do not want to risk injury to your employees or face problems if they are injured due to the lack of coverage. You also need to be able to access files when you need them and ensure your information is protected from the elements.
Consider converting your filing systems over to a more streamlined procedure or at least putting a filing procedure in place so that everyone can find the files when needed. When was the last time you checked your filing procedure manual? Perhaps that’s the first place to start to make sure everyone in the company is on the same page.