Controversial new plans have been announced that could see the drug testing of teachers from this autumn. Council workers could also be required to take a drug or alcohol test if they are seen to be acting strangely or if colleagues suspect that they are inebriated.
Random drug testing is being introduced by a number of council in order to monitor staff that may be in charge of heavy equipment or machinery. The drug screening programme could be extended to include the drug testing of teachers and other council employees that managers may have concerns about.
West Lothian council is one of the administration that will bring in drug tests from September. This is partly in response to the Glasgow bin lorry crash of 2014. The council hopes that the new measures will help to stop a similar tragedy happening again. East Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire have also approved similar new policies.
Th drug testing of teachers is certainly controversial. Many have concerns about the new policy though, with unions worried that employees that are seen as unpopular or troublesome may be targetted at work for testing if they have alcohol in their system from the previous night.
The councils have announce that they intend to start the drug testing of staff in September 2019.
(For more on the wider issue of drug testing in eduction, read our post on Drug Testing in Schools.)
Drug Testing at Work Is Becoming Commonplace
All employers are required to protect the welfare of their staff under the rules of the Health and Safety at Work Act. This duty of care requires them to make sure that workers are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If an employee is knowingly allowed in the workplace, whilst inebriated or impaired by drugs, the employer can be prosecuted.
The drug testing of professionals is becoming more common as society continues to acknowledge the risks associated with drug taking in and out of the workplace. Employers are entitled to test their workers for drug use but they should be aware of the legality of workplace drug testing before they bring in such measures.
Best Workplace Drug Testing Kits