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Criminal checks help ensure workplace safety

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The average employed South African spends about eight hours per day in a work environment – and they can expect employers to ensure their safety during this time.
While there are many security risks to consider, employing a potentially dangerous employee is one threat that can be avoided with the help of a criminal check during the all-important background screening process.
Rudi Kruger, GM: risk solutions at LexisNexis Data Services, says a criminal check is an essential practice during the recruitment process as it helps raise red flags before a job offer is made.
“Criminal checks conducted on a potential new employee helps the employer truly understand the candidate’s potential for dangerous behaviour by uncovering their history of illicit activity, past convictions and misdemeanours,” says Kruger. “A candidate with a history of violent behaviour or other physical crime can be considered a risk to employees because they are capable of repeat behaviour.”
In addition to workplace safety, Kruger said conducting criminal checks is a best practice that assists an employer with:
* Avoiding negligent hiring liability: An employer faces the risk of being found liable for negligent hiring should an incident occur where another employee is harmed. Negligent hiring is also a danger in cases where the employee in question has to deal with customers and ends up harming them.
* Identifying untrustworthy characters: Criminal checks also assist in detecting dishonest and untrustworthy characters, who may have excluded their criminal backgrounds from the application or used fake identity documents.
* Protecting the company: If someone you are interested in hiring has convictions that would make them unsuitable for certain work roles and also put your company’s creditability at risk. A criminal check will help determine an applicant’s suitability to certain jobs.
Verifying candidates’ background is made easier with technology-based solutions like LexisNexis RefCheck Advanced, an online background screening solution from LexisNexis Data Services. Designed with the customer in mind, RefCheck Advanced promises to deliver quality assured verifications with integrity and speed. The online solution includes the AFISwitch Criminal Illicit Activity Check, the only criminal verification check available to the South African corporate market since the discontinuation of the SAPS Name Clearance Criminal Check in mid-2011.