Safety Tip of the Week: File Cabinet Safety

File Cabinet with top drawer open showing file folders

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about File Cabinet Safety.

File cabinets are a very common feature in most school offices and classrooms. These sometimes large pieces of furniture can store massive amounts of information and are useful for organizing papers. However, file cabinets can be a source of workplace injuries. Taking precautions with file cabinets in your classroom or work space can help prevent many hazards.

Keeping a file cabinet properly organized will help prevent injuries and accidents. When possible, the drawers should be equal in weight. If they are uneven, the heavier items should be placed at the bottom. A heavy top drawer can cause the entire cabinet to tip over when the drawer is pulled out. If items other than files are being stored in the cabinet, make sure that they fit neatly into the drawer. Items that stick up past the top of the drawer can get caught in the cabinet, making it difficult to open.

File cabinets should be placed out of the path of traffic when possible. This will help to reduce injuries caused by running into an open drawer. Placing the file cabinet up against a wall will also help to keep it stable and sturdy. When installing new file cabinets, always make sure that they are level so that they aren’t in danger of tipping over. A file cabinet that tips forward may have the added danger of drawers that slide open on their own.

Simple maintenance can keep the cabinet in top working order. Check periodically for rough edges. Wood cabinets may cause splinters and metal cabinets can get sharp edges or jagged corners. Sand or file down these rough spots as soon as you notice them. Make sure that the cabinet always has a sturdy handle on it. If the handle is loose or falls off, it should be repaired right away. Closing a drawer without the use of a handle can result in injury from pinched fingers. You should also take the time to reorganize the file cabinet periodically. It may be helpful to send archived items to the Knox building instead of taking up space in the file cabinets.

If you have questions regarding archiving you may reach out to Rob Hardy, Digital Records Supervisor at the Knox Administrative building at 360-596-8570.