We understand that not every business stores their records at records storage facilities or take dedicated assistance from a professional records management company. Many businesses store records within their offices or in their warehouses or in some rental houses. With the intention of storing records in a cost-effective way or without knowing that there are specialized record storage facilities available, businesses continue to take risk with self-record storage and experience lots of problems.
While the subject of storing records seems to be easy, it is actually not. Especially when businesses generate volumes of physical records on a daily basis and they are supposed to store and preserve them for multiple years.
Physical records are so vulnerable to extreme weather conditions especially the rainy season. It is often not understood in its entirety that slightest negligence mistakes during upkeep of records can trigger significant damage and even cause financial loss to the organization.
Here are some practical tips that businesses can ensure to maintain a clean records storage, especially to protect records in a rainy season.
Why Rainy season presents additional threats to Physical records?
1. The high humidity in the atmosphere makes it difficult to preserve paper records and file cabinets, causing dampness and dampness-triggered problems like mold growth etc.
2. Heavy rain and cold breeze weather may find inroads into records room through open door, windows and pipes or ventilation systems.
3. When records are stored in records room, sometimes they go unattended and receive lesser or little care during this time.
4. Pests that are active during winter find these records room as safe haven and inflict serious damages to the physical records.
How to ensure the safety of your business records?
Wet Hands and Germs: Educate employees about the risks of water-inflicted damage to paper based records and make sure the hands are dry and sanitized before handling and moving records. This reduces the contamination and passage of germs.
Insulated File Movements: While moving files from one place to another, whether its intra-office movements or inter-office file movements, take precautions like insulations, concealments, hand gloves, waterproof folders or boxes during transit.
Keep the Leather Away: Leather materials can absorb and hold water content in the air, paving way for the growth of molds in the files. Do not allow employees to wear or leave leather shoes, jackets, bags or caps to the records storage room.
Avoid Food Spillage: Ensure the entire vicinity around records room are not exposed to any food or drink spillages. It attracts pests, insects and contamination to the area quickly and can harm the documents stored in records room.
Wet Umbrellas & Jackets: Taking wet umbrellas, rain coats and other weather protective materials inside or closer to storage rooms is another common mistake. This may pass on moisture inside the storage facility or accidentally wetting the paper documents.
Exposure from Open Windows: Educate staff members to not place paper records closer to open windows, doors especially corrugated doors when it’s raining. Such papers or files will be the main root causes of mold damage once stored in the records room.
Materials of Storage Containers: Use boxes, preferably plastic and air-tight storage containers to store physical paper records on shelves. Waterproof and air tight containers prevent moisture from entering inside.
Adhesives & Tapes: Commonly office employees use glue sticks, rubber bands and tapes to categorize files or leave markings or to add notes, labels or annexures. During winter their properties change, causing stickiness and attracting germs.
Pens vs Pencils: Most often Ink based pens, markers and sketches are used to make notes or markings or name labels on files. At least during winter, usage of pencils are advised as pencils don’t emboss the inscription to paper and don’t get damaged even if exposed to rain water droplets in the air.
Placements of Records: At office or at records room, don’t store records on top shelves and bottom shelves or closer to vents, radiators, windows and doors to avoid water exposure. Ensure there are ample space around records so that they don’t tend to stitch together.
Maintaining records is vital for business continuity, compliance and decision making. Rainy seasons and moist weather conditions can make it very difficult to store and protect records. By following some of the above ideas, one may offer basic protection for records.