Featured Image - Background Screening in the Maritime Industry: Has ‘Below Deck’ Exposed a Gap?

Background Screening in the Maritime Industry: Has ‘Below Deck’ Exposed a Gap?

Date Published: August 15, 2023 | Last Updated: February 14, 2024 | By Rebecca Forsyth
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Yachting can be seen as a glamorous industry to work in, with workers able to travel and work across the globe alongside the rich and famous. But the reality TV series ‘Below Deck Down Under’ has recently shone a light on the darker side of the industry: a lack of protections in place for crew members that can lead to staff being unsafe. And as the crew are always onboard, it’s not just their workplace – it’s where they’re living and sleeping.

Two incidents of unwanted sexual advances took place in the recent series; in one episode, the production crew intervened in order to prevent an assault on cast member Margot Sisson, who has publicly thanked the producers for stepping in to protect her. While action was taken in the moment to prevent the incident from going further, it prompts questions around what might have occurred had the production crew not been there – and how it might have been prevented in the first place.

Nurturing a culture of honesty and integrity is a must when it comes to protecting employees from harmful attitudes and actions. There should be a robust policy to build a safe and positive work environment, and senior members of staff are in a position to spearhead this. In this case, the ship’s Captain Jason Chambers (who was absent when the incidents took place and thanked the TV crew for intervening) dismissed both offenders from the yacht on which the series is being filmed. Not only does this ensure a safe environment for the complainants, it also sends the message that harmful behaviour won’t be tolerated to other employees.

But it is also crucial to know who you are onboarding – figuratively and literally. Background screening new recruits means you get a clear picture of who you are hiring:

  • Social Media Searches: what does your potential hire’s online activity look like? If it indicates problematic conduct and attitudes such as racism, misogyny, or harassment and bullying on public forums, then this is something to take into account during the hiring process to ensure your staff aren’t exposed to harmful behaviours.
  • Criminal Record Checks: does your new recruit have criminality in their history that suggests they will be a danger to your other staff? A criminal record doesn’t necessarily have to be a dealbreaker, but if it presents a risk of harm to current employees then it is worth considering taking steps to keep them safe. Access to criminal record checks is strictly controlled in the UK – Vero Screening Limited (trading as Accurate) is registered with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), have a relationship with Disclosure Scotland, and replicate checks internationally so we can ensure a fair and consistent approach.
  • Employment History and References: verifying your Candidate’s work history with these checks doesn’t just mean you can have confidence in their experience – you can also ensure there have been no disciplinary or misconduct issues in their other workplaces that could affect your employees if they join your business.
  • International Background Checks: if you’re hiring across the globe, you’ll want to make sure you stay legally and culturally compliant internationally – as well as ensuring a fair and consistent approach for all your candidates. In an era of globalised workforces, it’s more important than ever for organisations to protect themselves, their brand reputation, and their employees by ensuring they have a well thought out and consistent global screening policy.

Want to keep your staff safe, protect your reputation, and minimise risks to your business? Talk to us about how to make background screening part of your recruitment strategy at ukenquiries@accurate.com.

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