Why shredding is important for Contact Tracing
What is Contact Tracing and why is it so important?
Contact Tracing has been initiated to help curb the spread of Covid-19 by swiftly contacting anyone that has been in contact with another person who tests positive for the virus. It is especially helpful in managing infection rates within a number of different businesses where customers come and go frequently throughout the day. If a visitor does test positive for the virus, anyone who has been in contact with that person will be advised to self-isolate for 14 days in case they have become infected. This in turn helps to prevent help the spread.
What types of business need Contact Tracing?
Contact tracing is vital to keep many businesses open and trading during the pandemic. Customers voluntarily provide their contact details to use the service and do their part in the fight against the spread. Businesses that rely on this service are the leisure and tourism industry, the hospitality industry, barbers and beauticians. It broadly encompasses any business where customers are in close contact with staff or other customers.
The do’s and don’ts from the ICO
The ICO have set out clear and simple guidance for businesses to follow. This includes:
- Ask only for the data that is required, ie name and contact details (telephone or email). Avoid lengthy forms.
- Tell customers what you are using their data for, how it will be stored and how it will be destroyed when no longer required.
- It’s highly important that you do not keep personal data longer than necessary. The guidance suggests destroying the data 21 days from the time of the visit. Have a data retention schedule and destroy papers that contain outdated details. Also ensure this information is removed from electronic devices and cloud storage.
- Do not use the customer data for other purposes, for example email communications, unless the person has agreed to it.
- Store the data responsibly. Do not leave papers with personal details on show where they could be viewed or stolen. Keep data in a locked filing cabinet, or within a password protected spreadsheet.
The ICO have published 5 easy steps to help you adhere to the government guidance. Find out more here.
How shredding can help your business
As a business, you can eradicate the risk of redundant data being compromised by employing shredding company to handle all their paper waste. You can choose to shred material on site, or if parking is a problem near your premises then opt for an off-site shredding service. Shredding companies can also provide you with a certificate of destruction and all paper material is recycled, giving you peace of mind that your waste material has been handled responsibly.
If you need to erase hard drives, then your shredding company can erase the data then securely shred and recycle all pieces.
Demonstrate your commitment to data protection
Handling data responsibly reveals to your customers that you are acting in their interests when it comes to their personal details. By having a clear process in place for data handling, you can cement trust with your customers, helping them to continue using your services or products.
Keep staff updated
As information and guidance is changing so fast, ensure you keep all staff up to date with any changes that they need to be aware of to provide a safe service. Host weekly training meetings to brief staff on developments and changes and ensure new or temporary staff are given training before they start.
If you would like help with data retention, then please contact the experts at The Shredding Alliance for a comprehensive quote.