Huntingdonshire District Council has begun to use a fingerprint device in a drug screening process for frontline workers.
It has put the system from Intelligent Fingerprinting into use over the past few weeks as part of its drug testing and alcohol policy, managing it in-house in replacement of a urine testing service provided by an external agency.
The device is a drug screening cartridge onto which 10 fingerprint sweat samples are collected in a process that takes less than a minute. A portable analysis unit then reads the cartridge and provides a positive or negative result on-screen in 10 minutes.
It has been introduced for staff including refuse collection drivers, ground teams and those in street maintenance.
Andrew Rogan, operations manager for Huntingdonshire, said: “We are using the Intelligent Fingerprinting system to test all new permanent employees or agency staff for frontline services. These employees work in safety-critical roles, often work around machinery, and in a constantly changing environment so it is critical that they are alert and fit for duty.
“The fingerprint drug screening system is fantastic as it’s saving the council a huge amount of time and cost as we’re now able to conduct the tests in-house rather than using an external provider. Having the system available for use whenever it’s needed also gives us the flexibility to carry out tests at other times too, such as ‘for cause’ testing if we have reason to suspect drug use by an existing employee.”
He added that the council has implemented a remote training system to enable managers to carry out the tests themselves.
The system was adopted last year by neighbouring Peterborough City Council in its social care service.