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Home Office Safes And Data Protection

home office safes

Home Office Safes And Data Protection

With the advent of Covid-19 Certified home office and laptop safes have exploded in popularity, as for many people, working from home has become the firm choice going forward.

Finding the right safe for your home or home office use can be a lot more complicated than it may sound. Apart from considerations such as ensuring your safe has the correct European certifications for fire and burglary resistance there can often be difficulties in finding a suitable location for a safe in a busy home where space is at a premium.

Your insurer is not a safe expert so cannot be held responsible for making sure that the safe you buy is correctly certified to fulfill data protection or burglary resistance requirements they may have specified. Always insist on verification that the safe you choose has properly accredited European certification and look for ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation on your safe’s certification badge. If the purchase an incorrectly certified safe results in theft or damage that otherwise should not have taken place, issues could arise with an insurance claim.

1. Documentation And Certification Is Important

Always look for accredited European certification. Accredited European certification is verifiable assurance that a safe, fire safe or data cabinet has been tested and certified under European law. This is proof of standard for insurance, GDPR and litigation purposes. The European standard for safes is EN1143-1, fire resistance is EN15659 and fire resistance for data is EN1047-1Get a certification document for your safe, fire safe or data cabinet and look for ISO/IEC17065 accreditation on the document and on the safe’s certification plates, which can be located on the inside of the safe’s door. These will always be a stamped metal plates, never a sticker. All plates will clearly state the European certification standard and the name of the accredited certification body, ECB-SVDSCNPP or SBSC.

vds certification logo essa certification logo a2p certification logo SBSC certification logo

VDS badge

2. The Tricks Of The Trade

There are two main tricks used by dishonest safe suppliers both of which involve misleading the buyer regarding standards and leaving the client with a substandard unit rather than a safe that has accredited, tested, and certified attack resistance under European standards. The advantage for the dishonest safe supplier is that an uncertified or lower standard unit will likely be more profitable, lighter, and easier to deliver and install.

  1. Safe suppliers even very well-known ones, often market EN14450 "secure cabinets" as safes. As there is similarity between the standard designation for a safe (EN1143-1) and the standard designation for a secure cabinet (EN14450) the two standards can easily be confused, a confusion that is often taken advantage of. EN14450 is the “secure cabinet” standard. It is not a safe standard. The EN14450 “secure cabinet” standard does not have an insurance rating in Ireland or most other European countries as insurers do not regard it as adequate to protect against burglary attack with any kind of power tool.

  2. The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) (UK) has never been accredited to certify safes. Despite this, unaccredited certification marks such as LPCB appearing on safes in Ireland is still a widespread phenomenon. There are also other “certification marks” "certificates" or "approvals" from official sounding bodies such as the Association of Insurance Surveyors (AIS) or manufacturer badges that claim a particular standard or rating for a safe that have no basis whatsoever. There are only a handful of bodies who have European accreditation to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 for certifying safes and strongrooms in Europe. These are ECB-S, VdS, CNPP & SBSC. Look for any one of these logos and the ISO/IEC 17065:2012 accreditation on a certification plate. 

Remember: Accredited European certification is verifiable assurance that a safe, fire safe or data cabinet has been tested and certified under European law. If you consider properly accredited European labs that have their facilities and competence regularly audited, fail 70% of safes tested first time, it illustrates why taking unaccredited claims to comply with EU safe standards at face value could be a costly mistake.

3. Know Who You Are Talking To

The secure storage business has for a long time been an extremely attractive opportunity for criminals and fraudsters. Even today there are well known suppliers of secure storage advertising in the media, on the internet or at exhibitions who have associated with criminals or served time in jail. Many continue to have no reservations in mislabelling products, making fraudulent security claims, selling “refurbished” safes that contain asbestos or counterfeiting and making certification claims that have no basis in reality. Needless to say, we recommend that before you engage a safe supplier that you do a quick check into the background, credentials, and experience of who you may be buying from, divulging information to, or letting into your home. 

Thankfully, the internet has made it extremely easy to do a quick search using the name of your supplier and checking the background of the individual or business you are dealing with. Always remember when making your assessment, facts are what is important. Press articles or "experience" mean extraordinarily little. Look for verified qualifications and a knowledge of European standards, something an honest safe supplier should be able to demonstrate. 

4. Fire Resistance Must Be Certified

There are lots of examples to be found of "safes" it is claimed have a fire "rating", "approval" or are "tested" for fire resistance. In Europe the only fire standards for safes and data cabinets that have accredited certification are EN15659 for paper and EN1047-1 for documents and data. Accredited European fire tests include multiple size testing and a 9-meter drop test after furnace testing. 

light fire safes

These accredited European fire test standards far exceed the fire resistance requirements of Swedish NT standards which are common in many safes due to a less strict testing, application, and surveillance regime that does not include drop testing, multiple size testing or market surveillance. Accredited European standards are your proof of standard for insurance, GDPR and litigation purposes.

5. Buying Second Hand Can Be Very Dangerous

Without a doubt the vast majority of second hand safes on the market today are not fit for purpose and many can potentially be highly dangerous. If you are offered a safe that has no certification badge or that is marked as having been manufactured before the year 2000 (Asbestos ban in Ireland) the person offering you the safe is quite likely breaking the law unless they have proof from the manufacturer that the unit in question does not contain asbestos.

Due to the huge numbers of second hand safes for sale in Ireland that are not only missing parts and may have been previously damaged, but may also contain asbestos, the Health And Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) issued a Legislation & Enforcement notice entitled “Asbestos Risks In Safes And Fire-Resistant Cabinets” on the 21st of October 2019.

This Legislation & Enforcement notice covers all safes, fire cabinets or vaults manufactured before the year 2000.

The new HSA notice states:

  • The EU-wide ban on the marketing and sale of asbestos-containing products applies to second-hand or refurbished safes and cabinets that contain or are presumed to contain asbestos.”
  • Where the asbestos-free status of a pre-2000 safe or cabinet cannot be established or is uncertain, it must be presumed to contain asbestos.”

pdf download HSA Enforcement Notice

This of course includes hundreds of pre-2000 safes listed on the Association Of Insurance Surveyors UK (AIS) list that have been promoted as “appropriate for use in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Eire“. (AIS list 2015 - verbatim quote)

The easiest way to avoid the risk of asbestos exposure and defective equipment entirely is to ensure that the safe you are buying was manufactured after 2000, is from a reputable source and has been properly certified by an accredited certification body.

Insurance Rates And Cover

The rates shown below presume a monitored intruder alarm is installed. It is not hard to encounter rates that differ from these indicative rates as unfortunately there are many safe suppliers, some well known, that invent higher rates to attract business. It is often the case that displaying false rates is an indication of more serious issues with a supplier who does so.

Some insurers may decide that a higher cover is warranted based on their risk assessment, some may decide the specification of the safe is not adequate or may insist on various types of monitoring. For higher levels of cover a certain amount of negotiation is to be expected and additional measures may be required to mitigate risk. 

ISRG logo
  • The European standard for secure cabinets is: EN14450
  • The European standard for safes is: EN1143-1
  • The European standard for deposit safes is: EN1143-2
Amounts in €1000 units
Contents cover is five times cash rating
Grade Standard Type Cash Jewellery / Contents
S1 EN 14450 Secure Cabinet NA NA
S2 EN 14450 Secure Cabinet NA NA
0 EN 1143-1 Safe €7,500.00 €37,500.00
I EN 1143-1 / EN 1143-2   Safe / Deposit Safe   €12,500.00 €62,500.00
II EN 1143-1 / EN 1143-2 Safe / Deposit Safe  €25,000.00 €125,000.00
III EN 1143-1 / EN 1143-2 Safe / Deposit Safe €50,000.00 €250,000.00
IV EN 1143-1 / EN 1143-2 Safe / Deposit Safe €90,000.00 €450,000.00
V EN 1143-1 Safe €150,000.00     €750,000.00
VI EN 1143-1 Safe €200,000.00 €1000,000.00
  • Recommended amounts are for indicative purposes only and are subject to approval by the insurer on a case by case basis
  • Certified deposit safes are only available in grade 1 to 5 and display the certification EN1143-2. Any other mark not accepted
  • Certified safes with a weight of <1.000 kg must be anchored at the place of installation in accordance with the EN1143-1 specification
  • NA – Not advised
  • PA – Prior approval recommended – It’s necessary to discuss this cover in detail with your insurance company as it falls outside normal recommendations

pdf download Download A Copy Of ISRG Rates - June 2020

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