Reducing Products Liability: Document Retention

Document RetentionMetalworking facilities face unique product liability exposures. This is particularly true because your manufactured product may be a component or subsystem of a larger overall product design. Failure of the subsystem or product design can draw your component part into litigation.

In addition, many metalworking facilities function in part or entirely as job shops, which typically require meeting another party’s design specifications. Without involvement at the initial design phase, it is often difficult to fully assess design inadequacies or potential product misuses.

By being diligent in preventing employee and customer injuries, as well as property damage, you will help minimize accidents and help to reduce your insurance costs. You can help control and manage the insurance risks associated with product safety by implementing these tips:

Document Retention

• Establish a Document Retention Program to track the development, testing, production and reliability of a product

• Document whether a product was sold with recommended safety devices, warnings and instructions

• Detail how due care was exercised during all phases of the manufacturing process

• Identify suppliers whose records may also assist in tracking the distribution of the product line

• Create and retain any records likely to be useful in defense of litigation

Advantages of a Document Retention Program

• Increased business efficiency

• May reduce legal expenses in the event of a lawsuit by ensuring relevant documentation is available

• Cost of document storage and retrieval reduced by elimination of duplicate or unneeded documents

Electronically Stored Information (ESI)

Two common examples of ESI are voicemail and e-mail, but the term also includes any electronic documents stored on a network or on individual computers. A Document Retention Program should address how this information is retained and retrieved.

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