A sound biosecurity program involves spending a lot of time, effort and some money. You don't want to blow all of that by letting your guard down when it comes to hiring employees. Today, employee screening should be part of your management protocol.

Here are some tips from the American Feed Industry Association on selecting and training employees for a more secure operation.

  • Ask applicants for a resume of qualifications, and have them complete a job application.
  • Conduct background checks. This should include such things as previous employers' references, immigration status (if applicable) motor vehicle and police records. The point here is to establish a prospective employee's qualifications and demeanor.
  • Consider conducting drug and alcohol testing during the final stages of the hiring process. Other times that this would be appropriate include, after a current employee has an injury or if an employee's fitness for duty is questionable.

    Check your state's restrictions prior to introducing a new substance-abuse program. Without question, the key is to treat everyone the same.
  • Institute an employment probationary period (say 60 to 90 days) to properly evaluate a new employee's work habits.
  • Train employees to recognize and report suspicious individuals or abnormal activities, security breeches, suspicious materials or devices and misplaced equipment.
  • Communicate a clear zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence, and encourage employees to properly report such incidents. This should apply to animal abuse as well.
  • Implement policies on appropriate personal protection equipment as dictated by management and required by law.