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Rail News: Amtrak

OIG: Amtrak should improve worker background checks


In recent years, Amtrak has strengthened its process of checking potential employees' backgrounds prior to hiring, but more improvement is needed, the railroad's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found.

The OIG last week provided an update on its 2012 audit of Amtrak's hiring process. At the time, the office determined there were "significant management control weaknesses" in the hiring process that resulted in "waste and operational risk" at Amtrak.

In its update, OIG found that while the background check process has improved, "some inefficiencies and gaps persist," according to the report, which was issued Nov. 1.

Amtrak can improve its process by holding the vendor that conducts the railroad's background checks accountable for complying with established guidance; and clarifying which department is responsible for ensuring that contractors have completed the required background checks on employees they provide to Amtrak.

The OIG review also found:
• Background checks are generally completed before new employees start work;
• Criminal history reviews of potential workers have been strengthened;
• Education and employment history reviews are inefficient; and
• Amtrak does not ensure that contractors conduct background checks.

"The company [Amtrak] will continue to be exposed to potential risks from employees that contractors provide to the company until it establishes controls for contractors to self-certify they have completed checks on their employees working for the company, confirms this through random audits of these contractors and clarifies its policy requiring that the company establish an approved vendor list for contractors to use when conducting these checks," the report concluded.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/7/2018