Workplace violence is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences for both employees and employers. In 2019, there were over 2 million cases of workplace violence in the United States, resulting in over 2 million lost workdays and $17 billion in lost productivity.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening behavior that occurs in the workplace. Workplace violence can lead to serious injuries, fatalities, and long-lasting psychological trauma.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the workplace violence statistics and how it can be prevented with background checks. While there is no surefire way to prevent workplace violence, there are steps that employers can take to reduce the risk. One of the most effective tools is background checks.
Workplace Violence Statistics
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), more than 18,000 workers in the United States experienced nonfatal workplace violence injuries in 2019. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2020, there were 774 workplace homicides, accounting for 9% of all fatal workplace injuries. The BLS also notes that healthcare and social assistance workers are at the greatest risk of workplace violence, accounting for nearly 73% of all nonfatal workplace violence incidents.
How Background Checks Can Help Prevent Workplace Violence
Background checks are a vital tool in preventing workplace violence. By conducting thorough background checks on potential employees, employers can identify any red flags or warning signs of violent behavior. Here are some ways in which background checks can help prevent workplace violence:
Background checks can help employers identify potential risks by screening for criminal history, driving records, and other relevant information. This information can be used to make informed decisions about hiring and placement.
For example, an employer may choose not to hire an applicant with a history of violent crime or drug abuse. Or, an employer may choose to place an employee in a different position if they have a history of driving under the influence.
- Criminal History Checks: Employers can conduct criminal history checks on potential employees to identify any past incidents of violent behavior. This can include convictions for assault, battery, or domestic violence.
- Employment Verification: Employers can verify a potential employee’s previous employment history to ensure that they have not been dismissed for violent or threatening behavior.
- Reference Checks: Employers can conduct reference checks on potential employees to obtain insights into their personality, work habits, and behavior. References can provide valuable information about an individual’s temperament and propensity for violence.
Here are some additional tips for using background checks to prevent workplace violence:
- Use a reputable background check company. Not all background check companies are created equal. Make sure to choose a company that is accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA).
- Be aware of the laws in your state. There are some restrictions on what information can be used to determine an applicant’s eligibility for a job position in a background check. Be sure to check the laws in your state before you conduct a background check.
- Be prepared to take action. Once you have conducted a background check and identified a potential risk, be prepared to take action. This may mean not hiring an applicant or placing them in a different position.
By following these tips, you can use background checks to help prevent workplace violence and create a safer workplace for everyone.
Hiring practices are constantly evolving, but in the 30+ years SELECTiON.COM® has been in business, background check usage by companies has been and continues to be on the rise. Background checks are still the most effective way of taking reasonable precautions to create a safe work environment for your employees and minimize costly turnovers. In addition, new reporting methods continue to make background checks more effective and reliable year after year.
Contact us today to see how SELECTiON.COM® can improve your background check process.
This article gives a general overview of legal matters. However, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with all the relevant federal, state, and local laws governing this area. SELECTiON.COM® does not provide legal advice, and we always suggest consulting your legal counsel for all applicant approval matters.
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