Your business or organisation may have many records that you are obliged to keep. This guidance highlights the issues which you should take into consideration when you store those records. When records are no longer required for everyday reference, it may be more economical to use space to store them in a specialist records storage facility rather than in your own premises.
Why is the location of your records important?
The location of your records is important because it can impact on their accessibility and their long term preservation. Records must be stored somewhere which is easily accessible to your staff who may need to retrieve them. They must also be stored somewhere which will ensure they are kept in good condition for many years to come.
Storing Records – Dos and Don’ts
- Keep your records in a secure location.
- Keep your records in an area where there is ample space to access and retrieve them – leave enough room for steps if necessary.
- Make sure you know what records are kept where. If boxing them, keep an inventory of what is in each box and locations.
- Keep the storage area and equipment tidy.
- Ensure the location meets health and safety requirements and carry out a risk assessment.
- Make sure that your most frequently used records are stored in the most accessible location.
- Ensure the structure of the building is capable of storing the weight of the archive material. Instruct a surveyor to carry out a risk assessment, if necessary.
- Keep your records in an area where they will cause an obstruction eg. in aisles.
- Keep your records in an area which is inaccessible to members of staff who need to access them.
- Keep your records in a clean and dry area
- Arrange for your records storage area to be cleaned regularly
- Keep your records anywhere near water or water pipes
- Keep your records in an area where there are potential fire hazards such as inflammable materials.
- Keep your records where there is evidence of rodents or other pests such as birds, silverfish or other insects
Use of storage equipment
- Distribute records evenly throughout shelves and cabinets – don’t store them only on the top as this will make shelving or cabinets unstable
- Try and use boxes when storing records on shelves – this is tidier, keeps records more organised and gives more protection against pests and water damage
- Use the right size of box for the records you are storing; they should be neither too big nor too small
- Clearly label the storage equipment and furniture so that you can locate records easily. However, be aware that it is not always appropriate to advertise the exact contents of storage boxes for security reasons. You may want to label them with a random number that corresponds to a list held elsewhere
- Overfill office furniture used to store records, such as filing cabinets – this is dangerous and can also make access difficult
- Overfill boxes and make them too heavy to lift or carry
- Keep records directly on the ground or on the very top of storage furniture where they will be more susceptible to damage from pests or floods
If you feel your organisation is unable to satisfy these requirements then it may be time to outsource your archiving.
Get in Touch Today
Whether you just need to store archive boxes or require a fully managed records storage service please call us now on 08000 641 642 and we’d be happy to talk through your specific requirements. Alternatively Contact Us by Email