Aug. 10 2006 11:24 AM

In recent months, businesses, both large and small, have recognized the importance of safety in their mail centers. Pitney Bowes Inc. has developed guidelines for businesses of all sizes to help their employees and customers feel safe about the mail. Below are some tips to help you safeguard your mail center.


A Safer Mail Center

Train mail center personnel to recognize potentially suspicious material such as mail marked confidential, personal or fragile or mailed with excessive postage, wrong titles of employees or titles without names, addresses that are poorly typed, handwritten or contain misspellings and oily stains, strange odors or powdery substances, especially large or lopsided parcels and envelopes or parcels with excessive wrapping material such as masking tape, strapping tape or string.


Conduct a background check prior to hiring employees. Keep doors locked as much as possible. Maintain a sign-in sheet including the times a person arrives and departs. Escort visitors to and from their destinations within the mail center and in your business. "Authorized Personnel Only" signs should be posted on outside doors with the window/counter hours clearly displayed outside the mail center.


Managing Incoming Mail

1. Create an isolated "safe area" for opening material.

2. Utilize automatic mail opening devices to minimize manual contact.

3. Track internal deliveries using a closed-loop, package management system. This captures information on all accountable material entering your building. Create delivery manifest for route, floor, building or for inter-company trucks, capture electronic signature for every delivery. Update package status with details.

4. Verify, by phone, all receipts from "first time" messenger service before accepting delivery.

5. Sign for each incoming package separately.


Processing Outbound Mail

Use a postage meter instead of stamps. Meters are licensed by the United States Postal Service, making metered mail traceable to point of original mailing. Restrict and monitor access to the postage meter. Lock the system when it's not in use, and utilize the password protection.


Weigh all material to avoid postage overpayments. Use address management software to ensure that mail is properly addressed. Always print your company name and return address on envelopes. Be sure that all your mail is securely sealed. Consider using self-mailers or post cards for promotional mailings. Use multicarrier system for secure processing of outbound parcels. It increases accurate addressing for delivery, provides labels and documents for carrier compliance, reports and tracks deliveries, sends e-mail notification of shipments to recipient and more.


Visit to find out more about safety in the mail center.