What Is a Certificate of Document Destruction?

Document shredding isn’t just about convenience or digitizing to save space. You might also need a Certificate of Document Destruction as legal proof and protection.

A Certificate of Document Destruction, also commonly referred to as a Certificate of Destruction, is a formal document you can show in the event of an audit or lawsuit that provides protection by proving the item in question was destroyed. This is important to be compliant with HIPAA regulations in order to prove a document cannot be provided during the discovery phase of a lawsuit, etc. Certificates of Destruction can also be provided for destruction of hard drives and similar media.

When hiring a mobile shredding company or a company that does off-site shredding, one of your first questions should be if they provide a Certificate of Document Destruction. Ask to see a sample to ensure they’re sufficiently detailed for the compliance standards you need and good record keeping. For example, you want the chain of custody for the materials documented clearly.

What should be listed in a Certificate of Destruction?

Look for a Certificate of Document Destruction that:

  • Documents the Transfer of Custody starting with the date and location of when the client turned over the material

  • Provides a unique transaction number for the audit trail

  • Lists the date the material was collected

  • Accepts fiduciary responsibility for the material, assuring that it will be treated confidentially

  • Cites the material processing procedures

  • Lists the date and location where the material was destroyed

  • Names the witness to the destruction and has their signature

If you are required to follow certain procedures for a specific type or category of confidential material, check with any governing bodies or compliance organizations to determine if other requirements are necessary. If you’re not sure, consult the Information Requirements Clearinghouse.

If you’re in the medical field you must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which governs personal medical information privacy requirements, then American Health Information Management Association could be a useful resource in regards to a witness, destruction logs, etc. As a federal regulation, HIPAA is taken very seriously so you want to be sure you’re following the proper procedure.

If your company provides or receives information from credit reporting agencies like Equifax, you also might be subject to certain regulations. The website for the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) details rules to prevent identity theft and credit card security requirements.

What Information Needs a Certificate of Destruction?

A proper Certificate of Document Destruction is essential for some types of materials, like medical records. For others, it might not be required but will provide you with a level of legal protection in the event of a lawsuit, discovery motion, etc.

A Certificate of Destruction should be obtained when disposing of:

  • Employment applications

  • Financial statements

  • Medical records

  • Tax records

  • Employment records

  • Expired contracts and agreements

  • Credit records and applications

Don’t take chances. Secure document or media destruction with a Certificate of Destruction to protect your business from information breaches, lawsuits, etc. Always ask for a Certificate of Document Destruction when hiring a shredding service.

Shred Securely with Storage Quarters

If you have sensitive material that needs to be destroyed, talk to the document security experts at Storage Quarters. Whether you select off-site shredding or Storage Quarters mobile shredding, your sensitive documents will be disposed of securely, quickly, and efficiently, and you will receive a Certificate of Destruction for your protection. To get a free quote or book our services, contact Storage Quarters today.