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The Hidden Risk of Onsite Document Storage

May 13, 2016


By now, if you’re a regular reader of the PaperSavers Blog, you are aware of many of the extra costs of continuing to store you company’s documents and records at your place of business.

From the potential for lost documents, to lower productivity and the cost of the space needed to store many years’ worth of files, the often unaccounted costs of onsite storage add up quickly.

But there is one more cost that is considered even less often than the others and, in many ways; it could be the most costly.

Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act is in place to help reduce the incidence of injury and health risks in the workplace. It is one of the broader Acts of the Provincial Parliament and it covers everything including the requirements for health and safety training to working conditions that protect your employees.

If there is one thing that the Act can’t do is to predict every situation in which workers could injure themselves. In a job where the high-injury-risk tasks are clearly identified, like in a factory or on a construction site, it is somewhat easier to address risky functions.

However, sometimes workers may be asked to perform a task that might not have been considered when a health and safety risk analysis of their job was conducted. One such task that’s often overlooked is the handling of records boxes by office staff.

“Bankers Boxes” are a popular choice for storing corporate documents. They are perfectly sized for storing regular letter-sized or legal-sized documents.

The potential safety risks start with fully loaded bankers boxes. While they may be rated for light duty or heavy duty, we tend to stuff them to capacity. A sheet of paper may not weigh much, but banker’s boxes full of them can easily gt to be over 30 pounds each.

If employees are not trained in proper lifting techniques for heavier items, they can easily hurt their back when trying to lift or move a fully-loaded bankers box.

Many on-site document storage areas stack bankers boxes on overhead shelving. There is increased risk of back, shoulder and elbow injury from moving heavy items over your head and from the potential of serious injury if a box should fall on a worker.

In any case, whether or not you choose to store your corporate records and documents offsite to reduce the risk of injury to your employees, please be sure to take every precaution to keep your people healthy and on the job.

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