New fingerprint drug test simplifies Health & Safety and Duty of Care responsibilities for UK Utility firms


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Press Release

New fingerprint drug test simplifies Health & Safety and Duty of Care responsibilities for Utility firms in the UK

  • World’s first fingerprint-based portable drug testing system supports end-to-end testing, from pre-employment screens & random drug tests through to post-accident investigations for UK firms
  • New system currently available for forensic use only in the USA

Intelligent Fingerprinting, developer of the world’s first portable fingerprint-based drug test, is simplifying workplace drug testing in the UK across the Utilities sector with the availability of an easy-to-use, end-to-end drug testing solution that’s based on a revolutionary fingerprint sweat analysis technology.

Unlike traditional urine or saliva-based drug tests that can be invasive, time-consuming and undignified for testers and employees, the portable Intelligent Fingerprinting drug testing solution is convenient, hygienic and quick to deploy – wherever it is needed across a UK utility firm’s own operation – or their extended supply chain including contractors. Potential areas of deployment could include:

  • Electricity Suppliers – Meter-reading fleet drivers, ‘at height’ pylon or network maintenance engineers, sub-station operators at risk of high voltage contact
  • Gas Suppliers – Depot maintenance, pipeline repairs, crane operators or heavy lifting equipment
  • Water treatment – Sewerage works maintenance, pipe replacement, heavy plant drivers

“With almost 1 in 10 UK workers admitting to recent drug use [1], and 16% of UK employers saying that they have had suspicions about staff members being under the influence of drugs [2], it is clear that drug misuse remains a serious concern when it comes to health and safety in the workplace,” said Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting. “Our fingerprint-based approach supports all forms of workplace drug testing for utility firms, including pre-employment screening as well as random and for-cause testing, and is particularly useful to support ongoing Health & Safety and Duty of Care obligations. Fingerprint-based drug testing is ideal for organization-wide deployments, or can be introduced gradually to complement existing drug testing approaches.

“The new end-to-end system features an initial screening test that works by analyzing sweat from a fingerprint to determine if an employee – or sub-contractor who has agreed to the umbrella organization’s safe working charter – has recently used cocaine, opiates, amphetamines or cannabis. Sample collection takes only five seconds, with simultaneous screening results for all four drug groups provided in just eight minutes”, adds Paul.

Should a utility firm’s employee or a contractor’s drug screen test positive – in contravention of an organization’s existing drug and alcohol policy – the tester would then use Intelligent Fingerprinting’s Fingerprint Collection Kit for Laboratory Analysis to collect samples for a confirmation test. The kit for the laboratory confirmation service includes everything required to securely send the collected samples to the testing laboratory including a tamper-evident security bag, barcodes to maintain anonymous sample identity and a postage-paid returns envelope.

“It is essential that utility organizations and their employees are completely confident in the accuracy of their drug testing procedures, regardless of whether they’re testing urine, saliva or sweat,” added Paul Yates. “For this reason, a laboratory confirmation test should always be carried out following a positive screening result. With our non-invasive system – which combines the portable reader with the simple one-touch drug screening cartridge, and the unequivocal results offered with our Fingerprint Collection Kit for Laboratory Analysis – utility providers can now benefit from the flexibility and ease-of-use of fingerprint-based drug tests, while also being completely confident about the end-to-end reliability of their process.”

Fingerprint-based drug testing – how it works

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s end-to-end drug testing solution features a single-use, tamper-evident drug screening cartridge that takes just five seconds to collect a sweat sample. The Intelligent Fingerprinting portable analysis unit then reads the cartridge and provides a positive or negative result on-screen for cocaine, opiates, cannabis and amphetamines in under ten minutes.

Should an employee’s initial screen prove positive for any of the four drugs tested – in contravention of a utility firm’s drug and alcohol policy – two further samples for confirmation are gathered using the Intelligent Fingerprinting Fingerprint Collection Kit for Laboratory Analysis. Informed written consent is obtained from the donor prior to sample collection, along with a statement of the donor’s prescription medication, if applicable.

Once the confirmatory samples have been collected, the Fingerprint Collection Cartridges are sent in a tamper-evident security bag to Intelligent Fingerprinting’s partner laboratory for analysis. The laboratory then provides utility firms with a quantitative laboratory result in the form of a Certificate of Analysis.

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s drug screening system is currently available for forensic use only in the USA.

An introductory video demonstrating fingerprint-based drug testing in action is available here.

[1] United Kingdom drug situation: annual report to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) 2012. Department of Health.

[2] Synergy Health survey: survey of 200 medium to large sized covering approximately 26,000 employees (2014):


For media information contact Cheryl Billson at Comma
Email:  Tel: +44 (0)7791 720460

 About Intelligent Fingerprinting
Launched in the UK in August 2017, Intelligent Fingerprinting’s portable Drug Screening System works by analyzing the sweat from a fingerprint sample. It is non-invasive, fast and cost-effective – screening for multiple drug groups simultaneously (currently amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates) with sample collection taking 5 seconds and results in minutes.  The system is currently available for forensic use only in the USA.

In the UK, the system is currently being marketed to the criminal justice arena, drug rehabilitation services, offender management, workplace and occupational health services. The technique has potential for many other uses including healthcare diagnostics and homeland security applications.

Founded in 2007, Intelligent Fingerprinting is a spin-out company from the University of East Anglia (UEA).  The company is based in Cambridge, England and currently employs around 30 people. Twitter @iFingerprinting

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