Why Are Background Checks Important in Construction?

There’s a reason that people want to work in construction. For employees, a career in construction offers the chance to work outside with diverse groups of people as well as the opportunity to solve interesting technical and logistical challenges on a daily basis. For managers, the industry offers a mix of office work and field work and can provide experience leading and motivating skilled workers.

Working in construction, however, isn’t without risks. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are an average of 15 on-the-job fatalities every day in the United States. Approximately 20%—one out of five—of these deaths occur in the construction industry. Construction sites are also the scene of numerous non-fatal injuries.

So what makes a construction site safe? One of the most important factors in maintaining a safe construction site is having reliable, trained, and experienced workers on the job.

The right employees can help hold an entire team accountable to construction safety best practices. Poorly trained, inexperienced, or intoxicated workers, however, can produce poor-quality work that can result in death, injury, and property damage even years after a project is finished.

In addition to the physical safety of workers and clients and the long-term durability of construction projects, poor work also poses a risk to your company’s reputation. Failure to vet workers appropriately can result in bad press and negligence lawsuits.

With a boom in construction and a growing shortage of workers, employers are often adding new employees to their rosters as quickly as they can hire them—but don’t let your need for speed get in the way of hiring high-quality workers! Background checks can provide valuable information about a prospective employee that can save you time, money, and stress down the line.

Background checks remove the guesswork

Regardless of who you’re hiring and for what position, background checks can give you extra protection and greater peace of mind.

Hiring workers for your job site? Drug screening, criminal background checks, and licensing verification help increase worksite safety.

Hiring workers for your office? A comprehensive pre-employment check ensures that you hire honest, hardworking employees and reduces employee turnover.

Hiring someone for your board or to oversee a large construction company? A corporate due diligence screening checks for a history of lawsuits, disciplinary actions by the SEC or FINRA, or past employment with firms that have been expelled from the securities industry.

Comprehensive background checks not only create a safer, more productive environment for everyone but also act as evidence that your hiring process was thorough and complete. This, in turn, protects you from charges of negligent hiring and potential lawsuits.

Ensure licensing and qualifications

Many construction positions call for a specialized background, training, or licensing. Unqualified or untrained workers can reduce workplace productivity and efficiency. Worse, they can present a danger to the immediate physical safety of others on the site and the long-term safety of a construction project.

Failure to ensure that your employee has the qualifications they claim can also be dangerous to your company’s reputation and finances. If someone is injured or killed, or if the project proves unsafe after it’s built, your company could be held liable if you failed to adequately check your workers’ backgrounds.

A professional license verification is part of a comprehensive pre-employment screening. It checks to ensure that the applicant has the licensing that they claim, whether it’s related to a specific skill or is required to use particular equipment. The screening company will contact the license issuing authority on your behalf to verify the license, the date it was issued, and the expiration date.

Meanwhile, employment verification can confirm that your applicant has the skills and experience necessary for the job by verifying previous employment, employment dates, and types of positions held.

Hiring the most qualified people and having a realistic understanding of your employees’ experience drastically reduces the chances of serious injury or a poorly constructed project.

Increase employee quality with criminal background checks

It’s in every employer’s best interest to know if their employees have criminal backgrounds, and construction is no exception.

In an industry where workers may have access to personal or proprietary information or to valuable equipment and materials, a criminal background check can reduce the risk of theft. More importantly, it can expose applicants with a history of violence or sex offenses, creating a safer workplace for employees and clients alike.

A criminal background screening typically checks your applicant’s name against county court records and national sex offender registries to be sure there’s no history of felony convictions.

Drug tests reduce workplace accidents

Ready for another alarming statistic? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 17% of people working in the construction industry have abused alcohol or drugs.

Construction often involves heavy equipment and hazardous materials, and workers may be responsible for driving vehicles, operating machinery, and making split-second decisions. Workers who abuse drugs or alcohol put themselves and others at immediate risk on construction sites and may contribute to poor workmanship that can pose a hazard to workers and others.

The good news is that both pre-employment drug screening and ongoing post-employment screenings can contribute to significantly reducing on-site accidents and injuries, while also contributing to better productivity and reducing costs.

In order to be sure you’re in compliance with both the demands of your industry and the laws protecting employee privacy, it’s worth working with an experienced background check company that can help you navigate federal, state, and local regulations.

Find your screening company today

The construction industry tends to have a high turnover rate even during the best of times. Add that to the current labor shortage, and construction companies are often understandably reluctant to add another hurdle to the hiring process.

But don’t worry. The good news is that background screenings typically take only a few days. Even better news is that the right screening company will understand the federal, state, and local regulations for your industry and help you to stay in compliance with them. They’ll also be able to connect directly with your applicant tracking software, reducing your time-to-hire by allowing candidates to submit their information online, collect electronic signatures, and send updates as they become available.

So don’t be deterred from running the appropriate background checks! The extra security for your people, your company, and your peace of mind is well worth it.

If you’d like to connect with us for a free demonstration and an explanation of how we help companies like yours, contact us today.

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