The hijacking of an empty commercial airliner at Seattle’s SeaTac Airport on August 10 suggests an urgent need to review pre-employment background screening policies. When an event this shocking occurs, one involving supposed weak screening policies, employers across all industries should immediately review pre-employment background screening practices.

While the stunning heist of a large commercial airplane took no other lives than the pilot’s, the incident has intensified worries about gaps in American aviation security, forcing questions about how Richard Russell, a baggage handler, could take control of the aircraft, get it in the air and fly it recklessly over a major U.S. metropolitan area for almost an hour.

The tragedy is under investigation and screening policies are now being debated. According to published reports, Congress is seeking to tighten the screening of airport employees and may do so with more urgency said the former inspector general of the U.S. Transportation Department.

The United States has approximately 900,000 aviation workers, according to the most recent federal data, and screening procedures are reportedly “rudimentary.”

Certainly, background screenings should be conducted on flight crews, mechanics and maintenance personnel. But a robust and comprehensive pre-employment background check to include criminal background records goes a long way in providing valuable information to decision makers.

A best practice for businesses is to work with a well-qualified background screening agency. Combined with other related investigative tools such as interviews and reference checks, pre-employment background screening can prove invaluable with regards to public safety.

GroupOne Background Screening can provide compliant solutions for all screening requirements. From pre-employment to post-hire screening, as well as volunteer and student checks, GroupOne provides background screening services across all industries. Remember, the public’s safety just might be at stake.