At least one million employees in the UK have drugs in their system at the time of their work, a study has disclosed.
Researchers from Concateno, a leading European drug and alcohol test provider, have found that one in 30 UK employees or one million workers have drugs - cannabis, opiates and cocaine - in their system while at work.
Researchers discovered this while analysing test reports of 1.6 million employees from 856 companies or their workplace.
Before the tests, researchers had asked the participants to give information about their use of both prescribed and over-the-counter drugs. They claimed that this information would help give a clear picture about drug usage among the workers.
During the study, researchers had taken urine and oral fluid analysis of 1.6 million employees from various sectors like public transport, emergency services, utilities, retail, manufacturing and construction.
Researchers were stunned to find that one in 30 individuals had drugs in their system at the time of their work. They also found that there was a drastic increase in the intake of drugs from 2.26 percent in 2007 to 3.23 percent in 2011
"These are conservative figures when you consider how many companies do not have a screening programme in place," the Metro quoted Dr Claire George, laboratory director at Concateno, as saying.
According to the Concateno researchers, there are 29.23 million employees in the UK. If the positivity rate from this report is extrapolated, then 940,000 people would have drugs in their system at work right now.
The study also found that employees under 25 were high on cannabis while most of the employees aged 25-34 used Class A drugs like cocaine and opiates.
Drug usage while on duty drastically affects the quality of work. Researchers claim that nearly 170 people have died in their workplace, 200,000 have suffered major injuries and nearly 26.0 million working days have been lost due to workplace injuries or work-related illness.
Researchers claim that this report will help the UK employers, government and companies to understand more about drug use at the workplace.
"Testing should not be used outside of safety-critical jobs. Unless it begins to affect performance, then what people do in their private lives is up to them. If someone takes drugs on a Saturday night, by Monday they will be sober of the drug but still test positive," the Metro quoted Niamh Eastwood, executive director at the Release organisation, as saying.