Remember when we used to divide careers into blue collar vs.white collar?
The color of people’s work-related collars may not have changed much, but our perception of them has…and with good reason. Gone are the days when those who wear shirts and ties (does anyone still wear shirts and ties?) are considered more educated or financially prosperous than those who work a trade. In fact, many trade salaries far surpass their college educated counterparts ---earning well over six figures. What does that have to do with workplace safety?
In addition to skill sets and salaries, another incorrect assumption is safety. We assume that teachers and financial analysts will have to undergo a background check because they work with a vulnerable population or handle money or prescription drugs, but the responsibilities associated with one career position will manifest across all vocations.
If you run a business that does not require background checks, you may assume that it's because you are at a lower risk for employee fraud or abuse. Let’s look at the industries that do require background checks and how that need to know employee history translates directly to your industry.
Background checks are required for those who work in the education sector as a safeguard to protect children from violent criminals or those with a record as a sex offender. It makes sense that those who come in direct, daily contact with children would not be granted a position that comes with the trust of the public without a history check.
While your employees may not come into daily contact with children, they are deployed into situations with customers, the public and their coworkers. In each case, being willfully ignorant of an employee’s record puts others at risk of physical harm if an employee is hiding a history of violent crime or sexual misconduct.
Like in education, those in the healthcare sector work in the midst of an extremely vulnerable population. Putting that employee in high-stress, life and death scenarios requires the utmost trust.
Employees in your industry may not be regularly exposed to sickness or care for those in a condition that renders them in incapacitated or unable to make critical decisions, but your need to carry out safety protocols with integrity directly mirrors that of healthcare workers. In both cases employees must follow guidelines meant to keep everyone safe and minimize risks, as well as make quick decisions based on policies in accident and injury situations.
This is an industry where fraud is at a peak threat. Handling other people’s money, especially in great quantities, requires that those handling sensitive information have the highest level of honesty and virtue. We have seen the devastation that occurs when a dishonest person or group of people is not prevented from stewarding the assets of others.
Someone on your staff will be in charge of handling money. Whether it’s your Bookkeeper, the office manager who handles petty cash or HR staff in charge of sensitive personal information, you have employees capable of the same level of financial corruption. Even for employees who do not handle money, are they not handling expensive equipment, supplies or products? The mishandling of such property puts you in danger.
Government employees, including private sector jobs with government contracts are subject to classified information that could put more than individual companies in jeopardy. Other jobs, like those in the aviation and transportation industry perform their jobs among the general public, putting the public in harm's way if not properly vetted.
Background checks allow you to see criminal history. While your business might not be subject to heightened government regulations, it is still subject to the law. While one offense might not be cause for concern, hiring a habitual offender or one who commits a variety of offenses is a dangerous employee. After all, if that employee is not deterred by fines and possible jail time, what will be his or her motivation for following your safety regulations?
When you get down to it, what industry can risk hiring an unethical or criminally-minded employee? If you want to make sure you are hiring right, contact Workplace Safety Screenings for more information on Background Checks and other pre-employment screenings.