Certificates of Destruction
“Certificate of Destruction” is a term that you should hear anytime you begin exploring services offered by a professional document destruction company. Any reputable shredding company should issue a Certificate of Destruction regardless of whether they are a mobile destruction company that shreds the documents at your location or a company that removes your documents from your premises and shreds them off-site at their location. A Certificate of Destruction is one of the ways to help protect your company in case of legal action or a compliance audit.
A “Certificate of Destruction” is an important document because it confirms that your documents were securely destroyed and properly disposed. You should receive a Certificate of Destruction every time destruction services are performed regardless of whether the material destroyed were documents, hard drives or any other confidential material.
The Certificate of Destruction should contain:
- Name and address
- Name and address of the customer
- Transfer of Custody
- Transfer of Custody which establishes the customer’s release of materials for destruction
- Terms and conditions
- Terms and conditions for the processing and destruction of the confidential material
- Acceptance of fiduciary responsibility
- Acceptance of fiduciary responsibility whereby the company’s agent accepts responsibility and agrees that all materials accepted are considered confidential and are to be treated as such
- The quantity of documents and/or materials destroyed
- The date of destruction
- The date of destruction and if the materials are removed for off-site destruction, the time of destruction should also be documented
- The physical location of the destruction process, if taken off-site
- Signatures of company’s agent
- Signatures of company’s agent certifying the destruction and the witness.
The “Certificate of Destruction” should always be retained for documenting the paper trail in the event of a compliance audit or legal action. Remember, the professional shredding company does not know what types of documents are being destroyed. They do not know if they are destroying your financial records from 6 years ago, company client lists from 5 years ago, old contracts, business receipts, etc. The Certificate of Destruction will only contain the quantity of documents destroyed therefore it is the responsibility of the customer to record a description or list of the records destroyed during a record purge. It is recommended that the list of documents destroyed is then attached to the completed Certificate of Destruction and retained together in your files.
So as you make arrangements for destruction services, be sure to inquire about the company’s Certificate of Destruction. You will want to make sure that the information that they provide meets the requirements that you need for your company and/or your industry. And, retain the Certificate of Destruction for any compliance audits or in the event of legal action.