Random drugs testing for Barking and Dagenham Council workers

Staff have been urged to come forward if they have issues surrounding drug or alcohol abuse.

Staff have been urged to come forward if they have issues surrounding drug or alcohol abuse. - Credit: Archant

Staff at Barking and Dagenham Council face random drug and alcohol testing at work, under new safety measures.

Staff at Barking and Dagenham Council face random drug and alcohol testing at work, under new safety measures.

Applying to roles deemed “safety-critical”, a host of employees from lorry drivers to binmen and lollipop ladies are being checked using breathalysers and swipes of their skin. Failure or refusal to take a test is regarded as a disciplinary matter.

Staff have also been urged to come forward if they have issues surrounding drug or alcohol abuse in order to receive support.

To date, seven people have come forward about their personal drug problems, with two referred for specialist programmes while another is receiving in-house provided support.


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Four have returned to substantive duties and are considered to be no longer using.

Similar policies have been put in place in boroughs across the country after a Glasgow bin lorry lost control last December, killing six people and injuring 10 more.

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Although the Crown Office ruled that no-one was to blame, the driver of the vehicle told a Scottish newspaper how he had fallen unconscious at the wheel and could not remember anything about the crash.

Chief executive Chris Naylor, the first person to take the test, is among those celebrating a negative result.

A positive result at the screening stage would mean laboratory urine testing would take place .

A council spokesman said: “No judgement is being made on how people choose to live their lives outside work, but we must make sure employees in safety-critical roles are not putting other people – either the public or their colleagues – at risk because they have consumed alcohol or drugs.”

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