Staff working for a local authority could be tested to see if they are misusing drugs and alcohol.

Wrexham Council is planning to introduce drug testing after allegations were made that staff had been abusing alcohol and illegal substances in the workplace. The proposal, which has been approved by the authority’s Executive Board, aims to create a safe environment for everyone working at the council.

Initially, only people who are suspected of misusing alcohol and drugs will be asked to take the test. However, Wrexham Council may decide to introduce random drugs tests after the programme has been running for six months.

The introduction of workplace testing was prompted by a number of disciplinary cases involving council staff and alcohol. Drugs were also found on council premises.

Councillor Bob Dutton, the council’s lead member for organisation – corporate services and health and safety said the authority would give staff who were addicted to drugs or alcohol would be given support.

But he said: “Individuals testing positive must be aware that in having chosen to report for duty with substances in their system they are exposing themselves and others to an unacceptable level of risk.”

Authority hopes staff will seek support

The authority hopes that by introducing drug and alcohol tests, staff who realise they have a problem will seek help voluntarily.

Mr Dutton said: “As an authority we have a duty to provide a safe working environment for all employees and to ensure our activities and services are carried out safely to prevent harm to our employees and others. In order to fulfil its obligations the council must pursue a policy which secures a healthy and safe environment for all employees.”

The number of employers choosing to carry out drug and alcohol tests in the workplace is rising as organisations seek to protect staff members and the public and increase productivity.

Screening is most likely to be carried out on workers who are in safety-critical roles like people who drive for a living or operate heavy machinery.