In recent years, the laws surrounding confidential information, and the way businesses handle it, have tightened up. It’s no longer our decision whether or not we destroy paper with sensitive or personal information. The Data Protection Commission mandates it. That means we’re all doing a lot more shredding these days, whether we do it in-house or outsource it to another company. Up until this point, the conversation has rightly focused on the dangers of data breaches, leaks and identity theft. However, it is also important that we highlight the material and physical risks of shredding, however insignificant they may seem. At the end of the day, shredding is an industrial activity that involves hazards. Without the proper knowledge and training, the risk of injury goes up as we shred more and more.
Like all electronics, shredders are a potential fire hazard. Electronic resistance creates a lot of heat, especially when the shredder is switched on and operational for long stretches of time. Shredders also have a lot of moving parts which create friction, another source of heat. On top of this there are a few things about shredders in particular that increase the risk of fire:
- Shredders are full of paper which is dry and extremely flammable. In the event of any excess heat, sparks, or flames, a shredder, or more specifically, the contents of the shredder, allow for a fire to accelerate rapidly.
- The spinning metal blades of a shredder are capable of producing sparks. This is especially the case if you haven’t lubricated the blades in a long time. The sparks are particularly dangerous because of all the dry paper present in the shredder.
- Shredders create a lot of paper dust which hangs in the air. Although rare, it is possible under certain conditions for this dust to ignite, creating a dangerous explosion known as a deflagration.
In order to minimise the risk of fire when operating your shredder, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, clean and maintain your shredder. By removing the paper dust particles, you not only increase the air quality, you reduce the amount of flammable material. When you lubricate the blades, you reduce the risk of sparks being created. Additionally, ensure that you store your shredder in a well-ventilated room. This allows for better temperature regulation as well as reducing the amount of dust present. Of course, you can avoid all of these complications that arise from in-house shredding by simply outsourcing to a company like Pulp.
In-House Shredding And Air Quality
The paper dust that shredders create and release isn’t just a fire hazard, it also affects the air quality of your office. Studies have shown that shredders release substantial amounts of paricles into the air, the health impacts of which we have yet to fully understand. We do know that prolonged exposure to dust can cause respitory tract infections and other problems.
Since we are all shredding a lot more nowadays in order to comply with data protection regulations, it stands to reason that businesses should stop shredding in-house and outsource to shredding companies in order to maintain the air quality in their offices.
Shredder Related Injuries
Although the image of someone’s tie getting stuck in a shredder is clichéd, it does illustrate the most obvious and common hazard associated with shredding: lose clothes, hair, or fingers getting caught. However unlikely an incident is to occur, it is important not to understate the danger shredders can pose if improperly used or in the event of an accident. The risk of something going awry is only set to increase. However competent and responsible your staff are, Pulp staff are specially trained to handle industrial shredding equipment.
Ditch In-House Shredding. Go With Pulp
Not only does shredding with Pulp allow you to avoid the hazards of in-house shredding, there are many more benefits including:
- Maximum security for your confidential information. With a proven track record and unrivalled standards in secure shredding, Pulp is best placed to destroy your confidential information.
- Save yourself the time and effort of shredding. It is a laborious process that eats into your employees’ productivity when you could simply outsource to us.
- A cleaner and more orderly office. Shredding with us allows you to control your document destruction cycle and keep everything in ship-shape.
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