The skull and crossbones marked a COSHH cabinet ahead of its time

Learn what the COSHH regulations are, what they mean to you, and how to protect people over whom you have a duty of care in the workplace by doing an accurate COSHH assessment. Safety Storage Centre illustrates products to help you, and advises on how to select the right ones.

COSHHIt is the skull and crossbones I remember the most. Roughly painted in black on the faded primrose yellow door, it haunted my early childhood, and I certainly never dreamed of opening the door to see what was inside.

The painting was on the door of a weary old kitchen cabinet in the garage round the corner at my friend’s house, where his dad did odd jobs, and where we were allowed to play on rainy days.

Plastic soldiers fought imaginary battles on that garage floor; Dinky toys were props in childhood driving games, and all were overlooked by the unseeing eyes in the badly-drawn skull.

Years later I found that the cabinet contained oils and greases; paint with lead in it, and a lot of other badly-labelled containers half-full of all manner of noxious materials that are probably no longer available. He’d been absolutely right to discourage us from looking inside.

My friend’s Dad was ahead of his time, I suppose, having invented the COSHH cabinet more than 30 years before introduction of the COSHH legislation that made it necessary. (I almost wrote that he’d unintentionally invented it, but the reverse was true. He had fully intended to keep our small boyish fingers away from things that could no doubt have done us a very great deal of harm).

What is COSHH?

COSHH stands for Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, and is the name of legislation, introduced to the UK in 2002, giving employers a responsibility to reduce or prevent workers’ exposure to hazardous substances.

Significantly, the definition of ‘workers’ in this context applies just as easily to students in universities and children in schools – and ‘workers’ also covers people in offices as well as those in overalls.

What substances are covered?

Let’s start with what’s not covered. Lead, asbestos and radioactive materials are dealt with under their own legislation, and therefore not covered by COSHH rules.

However, it still leaves a huge range of materials that are within the legislation’s scope. Chemicals, or products containing chemicals, fumes, dust, vapour, mists, gases, and biological agents (germs, to you and me), are all there.

It’s important to note that these are ‘types of things’, rather than specific items. That means the list of actual substances employers (or school and university staff) are required to protect people from, could be extensive indeed.

How do I know what risks are around me?

You’ll need to do a COSHH assessment, and the things you’ll need to look out for vary from location to location and process to process. The Health and Safety Executive have a very helpful selection of sample assessments that will guide you through the process for your own situation – or one very much like it – and show you how to remove things that you can do without, or control access to things that must stay. In terms of schools, it’s a bit obvious, and the warning ‘Keep away from children’ sums it up very well.

There will no doubt be a list of substances identified as hazardous in your COSHH assessment, and that means that the range of available protection, in the form of COSHH cabinets, comes in all shapes and sizes.

COSHH cabinets

Safety Storage Centre offers a large range of hazardous-chemical cabinets, and one of those might serve your COSHH needs – but we also offer a specifically designed range of COSHH cabinets.

Wherever you buy your COSHH cabinet from, you’ll need to ask yourself these questions, and factor the answers into your buying decision:

• Is it the right size for what I need to store?
• Does it comply with COSHH and DSEAR regulations?
• Does is have a sump to catch spills?
• Is it made from strong material, using robust construction methods?
• Can the contents be segregated?
• Should I have a keyed or combination lock?
• Does it need to be fixed, or mobile?
• Does it have a smoke detector? Do I need one?

There’s much more to the COSHH regulations than I can usefully cover in this blog. Nevertheless I trust it’s given you food for thought and if you’re not already familiar with the rules, it might spur you on to find out more on the Health & Safety Executive website.

After all, keeping people safe is part of your duty of care as an employer…

Safe as houses: we’ll keep you in step with gun storage laws

More than 30 pieces of UK legislation cover the ownership and storage of firearms. Safety Storage Centre provides guidance on the specialised area of acceptable gun cabinet rules and regulations to keep you on the right side of the law.

The most robust firearms licensing system in the world is to be found in the UK, where there are almost 800,000 licences for firearms and shotguns.

That’s not the number of weapons in the country, just the number of people entitled to have them, because it’s perfectly acceptable to have more than one weapon on the same licence, although each and every one must be recorded by type, size and serial number.

34 individual pieces of legislation

Firearms licensing laws have been subject to significant change over the last 12 years, which has led the Home Office to issue its latest guidance, bringing together the 34 separate pieces of legislation involved in responsible gun ownership. They are found in the Guide on Firearms Licensing Law, which covers every imaginable scenario in its 255 pages, and builds on the Firearms Act 1968.

In his foreword to the document the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, Damian Green, pictured, makes it clear why such tight firearms law is required:

Damian Green“It is only in an extremely small minority of cases that legally held firearms are misused. However, the results can be devastating both for the immediate families and communities around them. I believe that the ownership of any firearm is a privilege and not a right, and that public safety must be paramount. “Whilst we have the most robust firearms licensing system in the world, we can always strive to be more efficient, and ensure the licensing process is practical and safe as possible.”

The document bringing all this legislation together includes three pages of concise detail about storage of firearms, including details of the gun cabinet they’re to be stored in, and the locks that must be used to secure them. It includes a number of references to British and CEN standards, as well as details about the materials they should be made from.

It’s potentially a bit of a maze, but the Safety Storage Centre has stepped in to assist you by offering a range of gun cabinets that comply with all the regulations, and will be approved by the Police – as all licence holders know, the law requires that your application includes a personal visit by the Police to make sure you’re a suitable person to have a firearm or shotgun.

Firearm storage standards

The British Standard states that you need to look out for a BS7558:1992 standard shotgun cabinet. It must have a seven-lever lock that meets BS3621 standard or it can be a padlock which has a Grade 4 CEN 12320:1997 standard.

You’ll find that some of the locks on cabinets we offer go beyond what’s required by law, making them even more secure.

The products we offer take account of the fact that you’ve invested heavily in specialist equipment, so the range includes padded gun dividers and floor mats, as well as additional lockable compartments to allow storage of other equipment and ammunition.

View our full range of gun cabinets and safes.

Cash safe: A safe haven for the family silver

Protecting portable valuables and hard-to-trace cash requires robust security solutions. Safety Storage Centre helps you choose the right cash safe by guiding you through the things to think about when looking to keep family silver in the family, and shows the models which offer that protection.

The best part of 100 years ago, a nationally-known businessman made a philanthropic gesture to a club in his home town by giving a silver rose bowl to be competed for annually.

Family Silver

It was, indeed still is, a magnificent thing, almost a foot wide and decorated with beautiful chased decoration, his name and the date; a tribute to the craftsman who made it. After a few years the club decided it was too valuable to spend all year in the home of whoever won it, so it went into the bank for safe keeping, coming out once a year to be presented.

And that’s how the arrangement stayed for decades, during which time the trophy has become a piece of social history. But in the last few years the security climate has changed, and the banks have stopped providing safety deposit boxes; no longer will people be able to rest easy knowing that their valuables are as safe as money in the bank.

New thinking on the security safe

As far back as three years ago some of the high street banks such as Barclays, Lloyds, and NatWest have closed their safety deposit box service to new customers, although some were allowing existing users to remain. Recently HSBC deposit boxes have become unavailable. It’s not a problem only restricted to the UK; it’s around the world.

But if the service is ultimately withdrawn completely from every bank, what then for owners of irreplaceable valuables like the club rose bowl, Grandma’s jewellery or the family silver. Selling the valuables is one option to remove the worry of security provision, but I’d suggest that’s unthinkable. Quite apart from merely moving the security issue and its associated worry elsewhere, it’s just another way of a club or individual losing their heritage.

A much better option is to do it yourself by investing in a cash safe and keeping valuables at home. But it’s not simply a case of rushing out and buying a product, even though it may look as though they all do much the same thing. Care is needed in its selection.

Choosing security safes

As I’ve advocated before on this blog, selection of the right safe should start with what’s to be stored in it. You’ll need to think about:

  • How big it is. It doesn’t matter Cash Safehow good the safe is if what you’re trying to protect is just too big to fit inside
  • What its worth. Safes have ratings based on the value of the cash or jewellery to be stored inside. They must be clearly shown in any product description. Bear in mind that some things have a sentimental value over and above how much money they’re worth, so you’ll need to take account of that too
  • Its resistance to attempts at burglary. Different ‘strengths’ are available. Look for one appropriate to your valuables. Numbers start at S0 and go up to S6; the higher the number, the stronger the safe
  • Anything else you might need to store. You’ve invested in a safe; it would be foolhardy not to maximise its value in use
  • Where you’ll keep it. To be really effective, cash safes needs to be bolted to the wall or floor. It’s not uncommon for thieves to take the safe away without opening it, so they can do that at their leisure. We’d advocate installation by experts, and we can provide that service
  • How it locks. Models come with keys, combinations or even biometric locks that need your fingerprint to open them. The latter group, including this cash safe, offers protection for valuables worth up to £100,000

Tell your insurance company

We’d also urge you to get in touch with your insurance company to be quite clear that you’ve added significantly to the value of your house contents. Some companies could insist you have appropriate secure storage before granting cover. And whilst you’re looking at that, check that the premium covers you for taking the item out of the home.

You might also like to consider the use of cash safes as part of a wider security solution including intruder alarms and CCTV systems, creating multi-layer protection for your home and valuables.

All of the cash safe product pages at the Safety Storage Centre have more detailed information to help guide you through the selection process. We’d advise getting the right specification for your valuables, and remember that it’s not as easy to get into a safe as it often appears to be in films!

Click to visit our full range of cash safes.

Why workplace lockers are as important to a building as electricity

The options for lockers at work are probably wider today than they’ve ever been. Not only do they store and protect, but they bring colour and functionality as well as germ-killing power. Safety Storage Centre opens the door to the possibilities offered by lockers – which is much more than just storage.

Work place lockers
In the past few years I’ve seen two good examples of what I mean. The first was a pizza restaurant which came up with a recipe that was very complicated to make, and so took longer to create in the kitchen.The devil is in the detail. You’ve heard the phrase before. Detail is what makes or breaks a design; what makes something practical or impractical.

The second was a company that moved to a sleek new building which won accolades for its remarkable architectural boldness and sleek lines, but had no storage lockers for its users, leaving them with nowhere to store their tools, coats and other equipment.

Two examples; one problem

Two apparently diverse examples had fallen victim to the same problem – a dislocation between designer and user.

Those who had designed the pizza weren’t the ones having to put it together with customers growing increasingly impatient as orders backed up in the kitchen.

Those who had designed the building never had to worry about having lockers for their wet coats, unused work wear or expensive personal tools.

In the former case, the result was a slower turnaround of tables and reduced revenue. That was easily resolved. The recipe was taken off the menu.

In the latter case, the lack of lockers caused piles of clothing and toolboxes in corridors, not only ruining the clean lines that had earned such praise, but also causing tripping hazards and making theft possible.

Why effective lockers for work make buildings function well

Workplace lockers were eventually provided, of course. But how much more effective would it have been to consider the end use in the first place, and have effective storage lockers – in all parts of the building – an integral part of its design?

Would the building have been designed without an electricity supply? Of course not! It wouldn’t have functioned. But without lockers, it didn’t function as well as it might have done from Day One.

Workplace lockers – in any kind of environment – always have something to add to a building’s aesthetic as well as its functionality. Combinations of size, colour, shape, construction material, locking mechanism and intended use mean it’s virtually impossible not to find lockers that offer the perfect combination of form and function for any application. Here’s how:

Unlocking the potential of lockers

  • School lockers: Bright colours lift the environment; child-friendly sizes suit smaller users; easy to ‘personalise’ for the early days at school; less danger of taking the wrong coat home, so fewer problems to sort out for staff; school lockers can be nested to fit as many as possible. Even available with anti-bacterial coatings to control infections – multi-functionality at its best!
  • Garment lockers: Designed to dispense and collect clean and dirty work wear; smaller spaces to store personal items; anti-bacterial coatings to the same 99.9% germ-kill standard as the leading domestic bleaches; manufactured using steel produced in a lower-carbon process; small in-use footprint.
  • Wire mesh lockers: Maximum storage capacity; maximum visibility of contents. Great for situations where multiple users need access to contents that need to be kept tidy; mesh lockers are fantastic for use as retail display resources thanks to their robust yet bright electroplated zinc finish; available with a number of compartment combinations that can nest or stand alone.
  • Sports lockers: Gym membership is fashionable, and the right selection of sports lockers and their interior fittings can add to the customer experience – an important consideration in a crowded marketplace. Combining sports lockers with themed island seating helps, as does the option to select colours to theme with gym branding, or multiple compartments in the same overall locker space. Also made from sustainable steel, and coated with anti-bacterial finishes.
  • Personal effects lockers: Thinking outside the box of locker design has put more versatility into the box. Varying internal widths maximise the storage potential for staff members; separation of clean and dirty clothes is achieved, and they are also available galvanised to stand up to frequent washing down in dirty areas. There are even ‘semi-detached’ versions available, allowing two users to share the same space, but with discrete access to their own things.
  • Heavy duty lockers: Faced with a tougher than usual area that still needs storage lockers? Models are available made from 70% heavier gauge steel than normal, offering greater rigidity, stability and durability.
  • Even general purpose lockers punch above their weight, offered in large and small widths, with up to six doors and in five colours, there must be a combination that will make your workplace cleaner, safer – and more efficient.Visit our full range of lockers here.

How storing hazardous substances correctly can avert disaster

Storing hazardous substances correctly is vital to protect people, premises and the environment. Having the appropriate hazardous material storage cabinets and gas cylinder storage arrangements will keep chemicals safely in their place. Safety Storage Centre discusses the regulations and highlights products to help you make sure your premises comply with the law.

Chemicals are everywhere. They support life as we know it in the 21st century, from the ones prescribed by our doctors to the ones used by companies to make the products we buy every day.

And therein lies a very real danger, perfectly captured in the old adage ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Although chemicals – let’s call them hazardous substances – are all around us, if they are mistreated or gas bottle storagemishandled they will turn on us in an instant.

That’s a lesson learned by thousands of people when a warehouse caught fire, and they had to be evacuated from their homes. Here’s what was happening:

  • Flames shooting through holes in the roof
  • Drums of solvents exploding in intense heat
  • Exploding drums fired, like missiles, several hundred feet into the air
  • Flying, burning drum crashed through the roof of another building, setting it alight
  • Large cloud of at least 11 noxious gases created

Although the cause of that fire was never conclusively identified, it is thought to have related to leakage of a corrosive substance onto organic materials. Ill-advised storage of chemicals did the rest.

Storing hazardous substances

And that’s why the Health and Safety Executive, in advising about the segregation of hazardous materials, includes ‘human factor’ elements that can cause issues, including:

  • Incompetence
  • A poorly-skilled workforce
  • Location of premises
  • Poor internal layout of premises
  • Lack of understanding about the substances being stored and handled
  • Ignorance of what happens if they’re mixed
  • Poor labelling

Legislation and codes of practice about storing chemicals, summarised by the HSE in the document referred to above, have a degree of complexity, but that’s no excuse for shying away from them.

You’ll also need to know about Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations as they affect your industry, and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) 2002.

There’s more easily understood information in our advice centre, and all product pages provide the reassurance of making you aware what legislation they comply with – or even exceed. However, useful extra information is to be found in this at-a-glance compatibility chart for hazardous substance storage to what can and can’t be stored together.

In this chart plus signs [+] means chemicals can share storage, bracketed plus signs [(+)] means they can, but with restrictions, and minus signs (-) means they may not be stored together. If you’re in even the slightest doubt, the best advice is to store them separately.

Choosing hazardous storage cabinets

So now you have an idea of the ‘what’ of storing hazardous substances, let’s look at the ‘how’. Hazardous substance storage cabinets fall into a series of broad groups, based on what needs to be stored. Within each of those groups are other options, allowing for wall mounting, floor standing or mobility – the latter includes an option from Flambank which is on castors, and a van-mounted version from Flamstor.

All are also correctly labelled and coloured to show the nature of the specific materials they contain. Fire protection cabinets are yellow; pesticide ones are red, and acid/alkali cabinets are white.

Choosing gas cylinder storage

Fires turn gas bottles into bombs. Extra heat builds extra pressure so that makes them prone to explode, blasting pieces of shrapnel for considerable distances.

The way to prevent this happening is to keep them in fireproof gas cylinder cabinets. We offer two models, both very well engineered and practical, but including impressive safety features. With fire ratings of up to 90 minutes, they provide ample opportunity for evacuation of premises and time for firefighters to arrive to make the situation safe.

Storing hazardous substances is a serious responsibility. Visit www.safetystoragecentre.co.uk to find advice and products to assist you in meeting your responsibilities.

Scunthorpe steel reaches a 125-year milestone

Products offered by the Safety Storage Centre and its Supply Centre sister companies rely on the qualities of a product first made in Scunthorpe 125 years ago this month, only a few miles from where we care for our customers today.

Life in the 21st century couldn’t be lived without steel. It is the foundation for everything we do. What isn’t made of it is manufactured with it or using tools made from it. Everything is moved with its help – and 125 years ago this month Scunthorpe was at the cutting edge of changing the world with it.Steel Work Anniversary

That was when the town was involved with the white heat, quite literally, of technology, when steel was made here for the very first time.

But the world of Scunthorpe steel in 1890 was very different from the one we’re familiar with today. The homes of the workers making it weren’t lit with electric light; there were no cars, no radio, and certainly no television. Conan Doyle had only just begun to write about Sherlock Holmes, Stan Laurel and Agatha Christie were born, and it would be another 50 years before the home freezer made frozen food commonplace.

The driving force behind steel in Scunthorpe was an Austrian called Maximilian Mannaberg, who built the town’s first steelworks for a little more than £110,000; a small enough sum by today’s standards, but about twice the budget he’d had available when he started the project.

Mannaberg’s legacy in steel

Although all of this was happening 125 years ago, it has left a legacy that gives Northern Lincolnshire a worldwide reputation. Thousands have worked in the industry and depended on it; tens of thousands more still do. Scunthorpe steel has shaped skylines on every continent, as well as much closer to home. It’s in the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carriers and forms the longest suspension bridges in the world – but you’ve undoubtedly bought some too, perhaps as bedsprings, or paper clips, a spiral-bound notebook or the cords bracing the tyres on your car. Even the wire fittings in bras are made using it, and London’s commuters already rely on it daily, not least in the rails, for Underground and over ground trains. The site can make steel more than 100 metres long. The contribution continues; this month steel is being made for the ongoing Cross rail project.

Family matters in the industry – Tata Steel Scunthorpe

Another very important, but often overlooked, element of the steelmaking story is the concept of ‘family’. It’s true that people working in steel see themselves as a family, and Tata Steel Scunthorpe is part of a family-owned global operation. Families in and around Scunthorpe have relied on employment in the industry for generations. Even here at the Safety Storage Centre our company is part of The Supply Centre family, having several sister companies. All of them set a great deal of store by the qualities of steel, because it’s in the vast majority of our products, which couldn’t exist without it and will continue to do a valuable job for years on behalf of the extended family made up of our customers.

Hardened, toughened, and shaped with precision, steel is a valuable servant in every home and business. Mannaberg would have been proud.

Did you know?

Even ‘copper’ coins are made of steel. Go on, hold one against a magnet and prove it for yourself.

 

Picture: Tata Steel

 

You won’t get a second chance to give First Aid, so get a proper First Aid cabinet

Choosing the correct medicine cabinet or first aid storage is a vital part of having the right equipment in the right condition immediately to hand when you need it. We explain why that’s important, and help with the choice of the right medical storage cabinets for your application.

Without the right equipment, qualified first aiders are like a fish trying to climb a tree – they haven’t got a leg to stand on. And whilst I’d agree that’s an awful pun, there’s a great deal of truth behind it.

Someone’s been hurt; perhaps it’s a bad cut and bleeding profusely. The first aider will know exactly what to do, but without the right equipment won’t be able to do it safely and effectively. That’s when a drama is in danger of turning into a crisis.

There isn’t the slightest doubt that every workplace must have secure First Aid storage with the right supplies for use in medical emergencies. After that basic truth, things get to be a little less clear cut.

What to put in First Aid cabinets

Let’s start what needs to be in a kit. There is a British Standard covering the contents – BS8599 – but the list it gives is by no means exclusive. The Health and Safety Executive is at pains to point out that what’s in your trusty First Aid wall cabinet needs to reflect the activities going on near it.

With lots of hazardous liquids about, an eye wash station might be appropriate; in a busy kitchen there might be a need for more equipment for burns and cuts.

The contents of a First Aid box are helpfully listed here by the HSE, along with a great deal of other helpful advice for appropriate First Aid storage.

How to choose First Aid or medicine cabinets

First Aid CabinetsFirst Aid storage and medicine cabinets are not the same thing. Certainly there is common ground, but there are clear distinctions too. Both have a treatment role, but drugs have no place in First Aid, and it may well be that there is no need for sticking plasters in medicine cabinets.

Medicine cabinets are not as numerous as First Aid ones, and are more likely to be found in health centres or surgeries operated by doctors and vets. Medical cabinets, on the other hand, could contain both kinds of supplies.

The right medical cabinet or first aid cabinet will be chosen from a range offering the best protection for its contents. Far better to have a piece of equipment made for the job, rather than have important equipment pushed to the back of a desk drawer or kept on an open shelf in a dirty environment, where it can be stolen, lost or become contaminated.

At a glance features guide to medication cabinets

The things to look out for in the best medical cabinets are:

• Conforms to H&S Regulations 1981
• Appropriate size for the contents you plan to house
• Durable construction, preferably of steel
• Antibacterial factory finish
• Integral drip tray to catch spills
• Flexible internal shelf arrangement to suit your contents
• Ability to add extra shelves
• Effective lock

If your need is for a small amount of first aid equipment, then a wall mounted First Aid cabinet will probably suit your needs, securely fixed in an appropriate place. Freestanding models are naturally also available.

And finally, the contents of medication cabinets are potentially dangerous in untrained hands. Provision of the right kind of training is at least as important as provision of the right equipment!

View our range of medical storage cabinets here.

Choosing a post box – How the dog made a post or mail box vital

Ordinarily as daft as a brush, and about as aggressive, the pooch had one blind spot. He didn’t like post coming in through the letterbox, and since he was quicker off the mark than my friend, he always won the race to the front door when the post arrived. Normally it wasn’t a problem, (if you don’t count a few teeth marks in the bills) because that was all that came through the letterbox, which was equipped with those brush arrangements to keep the draughts out.

Post BoxIn the dog’s defence, the postie was in the house when my friend’s dog bit her. Or, at any rate, the part of her the dog bit was in the house. It was a nip on the end of a finger, and he was a medium-sized dog with powerful jaws.

However, on this particular day, one of the letters was flimsy, and required an extra push to get it past the bristles. And that’s when the trouble started. To be fair, the post lady was very good about it, in spite of wearing a bandage for a few days. She knew the dog, and was gracious enough to accept profuse apologies and a bunch of flowers.

But there was no way my friend could run the risk of a similar occurrence in the future. To paraphrase Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest,

To have a dog bite the postie once might be regarded as misfortune; to have it happen twice looks like carelessness.

Selecting the right post or mail box

He therefore bought a post-box to hang on the wall by the front door. There are any number to choose from, in a variety of styles and colours and made in steel or plastic. Picking the right one from a selection of post and mail boxes needs a little thought, and answers to a few questions will help you select the right one.

• How much post do you receive?
• Does the delivery include newspapers and magazines?
• Is the post box going to be exposed to the worst of the elements, or in a sheltered porch?
• Will you be able to empty it daily? If not, a larger roomier post box might be better
• What sort of property do you own? The post box needs to fit with the design, so if you live in a Georgian town house a cutting-edge stainless steel model might not be appropriate.
• What is your budget?
• How secure must it be?

Factoring in the answers to these questions will help you buy a post box that will give years of service. And as an added bonus, we’ll include free UK delivery on any post box bought from the Safety Storage Centre range*.

*Safety Storage Centre delivery information – Terms and conditions apply.

Why cloud storage is not always useful

Cloud storage is fine, but it can have its limitations. It’s a great place for storing information in vast quantities, but completely useless for the physical records that information has been taken from.

Certainly old information can be digitised and stored on the cloud, but what then happens to the original? This train of thought covers all manner of material that is just; well, too important to be destroyed, but not important enough to be kept immediately to hand.

National Archives at Kew

Consider all the documents stored in the National Archives at Kew:

• Firstly, there can be a great deal of it, as anyone who has visited the National Archives at Kew will testify

• Secondly, storing it in the wrong kind of conditions might cause it to deteriorate

• Thirdly, it might not be needed for months or even years. And who would think of destroying Lincoln’s copy of the Magna Carta or the Domesday Books in this picture by Andrew Barclay, just because a copy had been kept on the cloud?

Clearly, special storage has to be arranged, asking the important questions:-

• How do you select a suitable site?
• Who will look after the material?
• How will it be accessed from storage, or taken to it?
• What sort of conditions must it be kept under, and how will the process be managed?

Documents

The National Archives, as you’d expect, is the UK’s leading authority on record-keeping for England and Wales, and holds material stretching back through time for more than 1,000 years. It has produced an excellent guide advising organisations on what issues need to be addressed when developing an offsite store for documents and records.

The extensive document draws attention to a dozen areas it advises need attention, and works through the process with sound hints and tips about areas as diverse as location, transport arrangements, and what to do with particularly vulnerable items.

It offers suggested questions to ask, and explains why they need to be asked. And it also draws attention to other legislation which might have a bearing on storage plans for any public body – including the Public Records Act 1958, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 1992/3240.

So, when it comes to taking on the very latest in storage systems, remember that there will always be room for ‘old school’ solutions to certain areas of storage problems, which is when ‘old school’ will never go out of style.

View our range of fireproof filing cabinets, fireproof safes and fireproof data safes which provide effective alternatives to cloud storage for your important records and documents.

The minimalist guide to safe chemical storage

Correct chemical storage is simple and straightforward, isn’t it? Some chemicals can safely share the same store; others can never do so – right? Wrong.

As with so many things in life, the answers about chemical storage aren’t completely black and white. Grey areas arise in the case of anything labelled ‘harmful’ or ‘irritant’. These two groups can share the same store only if special arrangements are made. Erring on the side of caution is probably best, so keeping them apart is probably the way forward.

But that begs the question: “Are you certain you know which chemicals can be stored with which?” For example, is it OK to store anything labelled ‘toxic’ and ‘explosive’ in the same store, or ‘toxic’ and ‘harmful’, or ‘explosive’ and ‘corrosive’? For the record, the answers are no, yes and no.
Chemical Storage Cabinets
To take away any uncertainty about how to store chemicals safely, we have an at-a-glance chemical compatibility storage chart you’ll find really useful. It’s an instant reference using traffic light colours to tell you at a glance which category of chemicals are suitable storage bedfellows, and which aren’t.

And in the going, we’d draw your attention to the text panel at the bottom of the chart. In summary, the message is this: If you store organic acids (like Acetic or Formic) with common mineral acids (Sulphuric and Nitric), you’re setting up the potential for fire and explosion, so don’t do it – but organic acids are generally safe to store with flammables or solvents…