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Filing Cabinet Hazards

Safe Use of Filing Cabinets to Avoid Potential Hazards
A recent incident occurred where a fully loaded 5-tier filing cabinet (height: 65" x width: 36" x depth:18") tipped over. The cause of the incident is unknown. Fortunately no one was standing close to the cabinet at the time and thus no one was injured. However, if the cabinet had fallen onto someone, a serious injury could have occurred.

The cabinet which tipped over was old. It did not have an interlock feature, which only allows one drawer to be opened at a time. The bottom drawer was also found to be damaged, probably due to the weight of the files.

Below are some guidelines on what to look for when using or purchasing filing cabinets.

File Cabinet 1
File Cabinet 2

Filing Cabinets:
CLOSE cabinet drawers when not in use.
DO NOT OPEN more than one drawer at a time.
PLACE cabinets so that the drawers do not open into high traffic areas.
LOAD cabinets starting from the bottom for stability.
SECURE tall cabinets to wall joist or floor.
PLACE the heavy files in the bottom drawers.
USE handles to close drawers to avoid catching fingers.
AVOID overfilling cabinets to prevent paper and staple cuts.
DO NOT KEEP heavy objects on top of tall filing cabinets.
EMPTY cabinets before moving.

When Purchasing Filing Cabinets:
Look for cabinets that permit only one drawer to be opened at a time.
Choose cabinets built for end tab file folders (pull out drawers not required).

Ref: CCOHS – School Workers Health and Safety Guide.