The research, commissioned by fingerprint-based drug screening systems developer Intelligent Fingerprinting to determine UK attitudes to drug screening in the workplace, also shows that one in five employees took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use, despite 43% worrying that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe.

Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting says: “Drug misuse has always been a concern when it comes to health & safety in the workplace, however this latest research suggests the issue could be even more widespread than previously thought.

“It is clear that drug usage not only puts the safety of individual employees at risk, but also contributes to the cumulative workplace accidents that cost the UK some £4 billion every year. It’s particularly an issue in those sectors where drug misuse takes place in safety-critical working environments such as construction, manufacturing, logistics, public transport networks and utilities.”

He continues: “What is notable from the research is that colleagues are reluctant to act – perhaps because they do not have the ability to provide proof or evidence that drug usage has actually taken place.

“Employers who do implement a drug and alcohol policy are often frustrated by the practical challenges within their specific workplaces. Operating a traditional drug screening service using urine tests on a construction site, for example, is rather inconvenient.

“It’s perhaps no surprise that our new fingerprint-based drug screening test – thanks to its portability, ease-of-use and non-invasive approach – is already generating interest from those health & safety managers and occupational health professionals who are responsible for safety in the workplace. It takes only a few seconds to collect a fingerprint sweat sample and screens for multiple drugs of abuse in a single test, delivering results in under eight minutes.”