We have gotten closer to a paperless society however, paper documents are still something that is not only common but are required for certain businesses. Over the last number of years even the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) has relaxed by allowing some electronic documents for acceptance, but not all. In some industries such as insurance, the original documents are required to be kept on file. Healthcare companies are particularly at risk as they are held to specific HIPAA laws regarding the safety and security of the personal information and data of their patients. The importance of all of these documents cannot be understated, because if they are callously thrown in the trash they can be open to theft for those that choose to use the information for illegal purposes. Shredding documents protect both a business and their clients/patients from exposure that could ruin a company.
Businesses that have allowed paper documentation that contained personal information for client or patient to end up in the hands of criminals have experienced a litany of lawsuits from those that suffered due to their negligence. The most common type of lawsuit is one due to identity theft, however, it can also cascade into an almost never-ending list that could include employees, business partners and alliances, and even the clients of those partners. Litigation can cost a company to such a degree that it can take a business down. Shredding documents at the appropriate time ensures that none of these documents will ever be exposed.
Depending upon the type of business, certain documents are required to be maintained for specific amounts of time. If the documents are reviewed and removed, the sheer volume can become overwhelming. Additionally, without proper organization, trying to access particular documents when required can be almost impossible. Shredding paperwork on a regular basis helps to keep everything organized and available when needed, while eliminating the documents that are no longer relevant.
Most people don’t think of pathogens when they see piles of paper, but documents can collect dust and germs and, when left untouched for long periods of time, can also present a potential health problem. If the pathogens enter the HVAC system it can spread throughout the company causing employee illnesses. Shredding documents reduce the volume of paper, the duration that they are kept, and the amount of pathogens they collect.
There may be specific state and federal laws that your company must comply with regarding the handling, storage, safety and protection, and ultimate destruction of documentation. Your accountants and legal representatives should advise every company on these laws and the consequences for not complying with them. Having documents shredded by a professional company gives the kind of certification that a business may need to prove that they are complying with all legal requirements.
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