Handling Documents Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by gracej
Records management isn’t just a priority – it’s a legal obligation. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, companies can be subject to stiff penalties if they destroy documents that might aid auditing procedures. Conversely, companies and individuals that do not destroy information before disposal could face prosecution and fines under HIPPA, GLB, and FACTA legislation. The key to compliance is setting up a records management policy that covers the lifecycle of each document from records storage to records destruction.
1. Enact a company-wide plan for records storage:
Determine who is responsible for records management – Choose a single administrator in each department to set up consistent retention and retrieval guidelines in their areas.
Determine which records should be stored – Check federal and state statutes for specific requirements or use a records retention guide to determine which regulations, like the ones stated below, apply to your business:
- Tax Audit Procedures The IRS can audit tax records for up to six years in cases of suspected fraud.
- Employment Laws The Fair Labor Standards Act and Family Medical Leave Act require businesses to retain certain payroll and wage records for either two or three years.
- Retirement Plans Any organization that offers a retirement plan is subject to records retention regulations under the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA).
- Health & Safety Documents Employers with more than 10 employees in certain industries are required to keep OSHA 300 logs describing work-related injuries and illnesses for five years.
Determine which storage products are best for your organization’s needs
- Is your storage system strong enough? If you have a lot of buckled or caved-in boxes, you need a stronger system. Trade-up to Bankers Box® maximum or extra strength systems for secure, stackable storage.
- Do you need storage drawers or storage boxes? Choose storage drawers for easy access or to save floor space. Choose storage boxes for archival storage.
- Units stack 10 high to maximize valuable on-site storage space
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2. Keep a retention schedule for each box of records. Shredding documents you no longer need is the best way to keep confidential information out of the wrong hands:
Determine who is responsible for records destruction – Choose a single administrator in each department to systematically shred any records scheduled for destruction in their area. Also, for protection during litigation, a retention schedule helps prevent the untimely destruction of the materials you need to make your case.
- How many people will use the machine and how often it will be used? This is the most accurate way to determine whether you have light or heavy duty shredding needs. If at least 5 people will use the shredder frequently, select a heavier duty machine.
- What are your security needs? Some shredders cut paper into strips while others cut paper into unreadable confetti particles. The advantages of a smaller cut include a higher level of security and less frequent waste disposal.
- What materials will you shred? Most shredders can handle staples and paper clips, but confidential information isn’t only on paper. Select a model that can shred credit cards, disks, and CDs, if you need to shred these items.
- Do you have any special needs? For departmental use, you might want a shredder that features quieter operation. If the shredder will be used in a home office, select a shredder with built-in safety features.
- Designed for department use (6-10 people)
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- Safely shreds paper, staples, credit cards, small paper clips and CDs