Frequently Asked Questions About OSHA Background Checks

Frequently Asked Questions About OSHA Background Checks

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You have found a great candidate for a role within your company. They seem like they can bring a lot to the table. They look good on paper. They wowed you in your interview. Whether they have the skills you need (or can be trained) if they fit with your culture you might think, ‘what could go wrong?’ Well, in this article we look at a couple of common questions, including, “How long do fingerprints stay on file?” and, “What kind of background check and drug screening information do you need?”

Because, unfortunately, the reality is that a lot can go wrong. We all tend to trust our intuition, and it often steers us in the right direction (or at least away from the wrong direction). But it is far from infallible. Trust your gut, but double-check with appropriate background checks. 

7 OSHA Background Check FAQs

Contrary to popular “wisdom,” what you don’t know can hurt you – and your people, company, bottom line, and reputation. Here is some important OSHA background check and drug screening information:

  • Why are OSHA background checks so important? In the construction industry, we face a lot of turnover and the constant need to fill key roles with qualified, reliable people. Background checks help ensure employers are hiring the right employees. While there is no way to completely mitigate hiring risks, background checks play a large role in protecting your company – and the other people who work for you. 

For example, over half of the accidents that occur on the job are related to drug (and/or alcohol) use. According to the US Department of Labor, 35% of workplace fatalities and injuries, 38% - 50% of workers comp claims, and 40% of thefts involve substance misuse.  

Background checks, including drug screening, are an effective way to keep your sites – and people – safe. Money is, of course, always an issue. With construction, we’re dealing with expensive equipment, high-stakes projects, and significant liability should anything go wrong. Whether you’re worried about theft (of physical property and/or intellectual property/plans), accidents, or noncompliance with OSHA,  thorough background checks are a must. 

What types of background checks are available – and which should you run? There are various types of checks available to employers, including: 
  • Identity Verification.
  • Criminal Background.
  • Credit Background.
  • MVR (Motor Vehicle) Reports.
  • Fingerprint Background.
  • E-Verify Background.
  • Professional License & Education Background. 

Depending on the role for which you are hiring and the nature of your industry, you may run specific backgrounds that are applicable. 

  • Who has access to background check and drug screening information? While background checks serve to protect you, as the employer, there are also protections in place to safeguard employees. Generally, the results of background and drug screening checks are confidential and will not be shared by the employer. They are protected by HR rules and regulations. 

In some cases, if you are hiring through a temp agency, they will conduct their own background checks (again, subject to careful confidentiality standards), while you may conduct your own in addition. Employees need to be assured that this information will remain private.

  • How long do fingerprints stay on file? This is another facet to consider, and one that also protects employees. When it comes to an employee background check, fingerprints are typically stored for between three and six months after the check is run. 
  • What are your employees’ rights? When it comes to background checks, employees have a number of protections, including their right to privacy. It is essential that you work as proactively as possible to safeguard their rights. From maintaining confidentiality as pertains to their personnel records to ensuring any further steps (e.g. treatment options if they are substance dependent) are kept private.
  • What happens if I don’t comply? It could be disastrous for your company. You can face incredible liability if someone under your employ has or causes a severe accident or commits an act of violence in the workplace. But it can be tricky for employers. For example, OSHA does not have any specific requirements related to workplace violence and has instead issued voluntary standards. However, if an incident does occur, you can still be held liable under the “General Duty Clause.” According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), you are required to provide a working environment that is free from hazards that:
    • Are recognized by you and/or your industry
    • Have the potential to cause serious physical harm or death 
    • May be avoided or abated by reasonable steps

A background check is a reasonable step. If you fail to do this, you can face significant fines and penalties, not to mention lawsuits – and even criminal liability. 

  • Where do I go for help? OSHA regulations, background checks, and drug screening are all complex issues to navigate. Fortunately, OSHA and other agencies are not “out to get you.” In general, they want to ensure you are in compliance so your people are safe. OSHA itself is a great source of information, and they provide education and consultation for employers. Reach out. Get the help you need. You can also reach out to our team. Labor for Hire has a long track record of providing companies with the instruction and assistance they need to maintain a safe and healthful workplace.

Many people wonder about things like these. Both employers and potential employees wonder about things like, “how long do fingerprints stay on file?”. If you need some extra help, you want a professional staffing agency that specializes in matching companies with workers like this. Contact us today. We provide skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled labor employees who are fully screened and we can help you navigate the intricacies.