Information storage protocols
The organisation in which you work is responsible for the safe and secure storage and handling of its documents and records. This system must be supported by your organisation’s policies and procedures for documentation, methods of filing and retrieval, release of information and maintenance of confidentiality.
Examples of relevant policies include:
- Record keeping policy
- Access policy for confidential information
- Record disposal policy
- Confidentiality policy
Legal and operational requirements
The storage of most operational documents, and particularly personal and case-related documents, is prescribed by legislation or organisational protocol.
- Examples of document storage guidelines for communities and disability services organisations include:
- Files are required to be kept by law for seven years (for adults).
- For young people under 18 years of age records must be kept for seven years plus the difference between their current age and 18, i.e. 5 year olds must have records kept for 20 years: (18-5)+7 = 20 years.
- Children’s files are kept for life (meaning the life of the child).
All documents are archived after two years.
Your organisation will have similar legal and operational guidelines, and you must make sure that you are aware of these.
Ergonomic and physical considerations
For ergonomic reasons we need to ensure safe and workable systems that do not require heavy lifting, stretching or bending. Care needs to be taken when lifting boxed archives stored at floor level or on high shelves. Filing cabinets can become unstable if top-heavy.