Bulletin No. 01-03
January 6, 2003

FILE DESTRUCTION


In order to address some apparent concern regarding DWC's intention to destroy files after five years, we would like to clarify this situation as follows.

In August of 2002, all state agencies were advised by the Department of General Services that as of September 20, 2002 the State Records Center would no longer accept new records transfers, although it has continued to return files to District Offices that it held prior to September 20, 2002.  While this change was termed temporary, it has continued to date, and with a $34.8 billion shortfall, it is not anticipated that it will change anytime soon.

As a result of this action, files have been piling up at the district offices now for four months causing space and safety problems.  As a result, on an emergency basis DWC is formulating a program to destroy certain files that would otherwise be sent to the State Records Center, in order to help to alleviate this problem.  To continue to allow files to pile up does not appear to be an option.  The destruction of these files will be consistent with Board Rule 10758, which reads:

"Following a period of five years after the filing of the Application, or other opening document, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board may destroy, without microphotographic or other reproduction, the file in each case.

"A case file may be destroyed by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board after its contents, as stripped in accordance with Section 10755, have been reproduced in a manner permitted by law.  The reproduction may be destroyed after a period of five years from the date of the filing of the Application or other opening document.

"The approval of the Department of Finance, as required by the provisions of Labor Code Section 135, will be obtained before action under this rule."

This emergency plan is designed only to deal with the files currently piling up at the district offices.  DWC also intends to work with those in the workers' compensation community to develop a more acceptable long term plan to address those files currently being stored at the State Records Center, to the extent available resources allow.

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