Don't cut the tails off your pull-tight seals

Author: PSA   Date Posted:18 June 2015 

What's the big deal?

You've seen many people lop off the ends of cable ties, so why not pull-tight seals? It's tempting to trim them off after sealing to neaten them up, but for security reasons you should leave them untrimmed, and let the recipient checking the seal know that it should remain untrimmed. This is especially important if a seal isn't pulled through completely.

In some situations pull-tight seals may not be drawn tight to leave a little slack and alleviate tension during transit. If the ends are trimmed off, tampering may occur where someone cuts the seal, tampers with the item, and pushes the tail back through just enough for the locking mechanism to engage, albeit just a little tighter than before. The recipient, upon seeing a seal with a lopped off tail, will have no idea if the seal has been cut and reapplied, or whether the tail was cut when sealed.

How do we fix this?

Suppress your OCD, leave it sticking out. To help with that, order seals that're closer to the required length, so you don't have long tails hanging out the end.

Otherwise, tie the tail back. Some seals have a handy "tail stow" - a hole to loop the tail back and out of the way; seals like the DuoLoop have a second security jaw which you could loop the tail back to decrease the length that's poking out.

You could alternatively use fixed length seals such as the TwinLock.

Still not sure what we mean?

Here's a pull-tight seal being used on a security box, but not tied up tight to alleviate stress during transit. The tail is sticking out.
The tail has been trimmed, and the box despatched.
During transit, the seal has been cut, so the security box can be opened and the goods tampered with.
Now the seal is re-sealed - and the stem within the jaw has been ejected.
Now at its destination, the recipient is none-the-wiser that the box has been tampered with.