Fitting controlled drugs cabinets securely

The intention of this page is to be informative however not exhaustive reading for fitting controlled drugs cabinets in the United Kingdom.
A Licensee may wish to seek independent advice in order to ensure they are fully compliant.

Information on the of Fitting Controlled Drugs Cabinets.

here are legislative requirements relating to the storage of schedules and types of Controlled drugs. These are set out in “The Misuse of drugs (Safe custody) regulations 1973”.

Any prospective licensee or a Licensee’s business will undertake specific and varied tasks within their business which their current security procedures should seek to mitigate. In order to further mitigate the security risks associated with the storage of Controlled drugs there are certain minimum standards that must be met. “The Misuse of drugs (Safe custody) regulations 1973” are seen as an acceptable minimum standard for the safe storage and management of these Controlled drugs.

There are common-sense procedures that a licensee will probably already have in place however the following are good procedures that should be considered.

  • Ensure external windows and doors all have secure locks fitted.
  • Store Controlled drugs on floors above ground floor level.
  • Install an approved and monitored burglar alarm to the premises.
  • Consider CCTV installation both outside and to cover the CD storage area.
  • Put in place a standard operating procedure to cover the methods of producing, handling and storage on site.
fitting controlled drugs cabinets

Dependent upon the quantities of Controlled drugs to be stored and the particular risks associated with the specific environment in which they are to be kept, several methods of secure storage are available. Below we deal with Controlled drugs cabinets, however we are able to assist you with other methods of storage should you be required to hold larger quantities.

When you are considering fitting Controlled drugs cabinets the following layers and levels of security should be considered:

  1. The exterior layer of protection for the property, which might me an outer fence, your outside lighting or a CCTV system. This is the first barrier to an intruder and should not be overlooked.
  2. The next layer of protection is the outer skin of the building the Controlled drugs cabinet are to be stored in. This may be security bars on windows, a burglar alarm system or CCTV. These all form additional physical barriers to a potential intruder.
  3. This next area is the central area in which the controlled drugs cabinet is to be situated.
  4. Controlled drugs cabinets should be where possible fitted within a room covered by an intruder alarm and if this is not possible it may be prudent to adapt your existing exterior alarm to cover this particular room. The positioning of a controlled drugs cabinet is important and you may wish to consider the following points as guidance before commencing installation.
  • Install the Controlled drugs cabinet within a room that does not have direct access to the outside of the building (no window or door with direct access to outside).
  • Install the cabinet in a part of the room that is away from direct line of sight so it will not be visible to casual callers (not opposite a window hatch or a doorway).
  • In order to reduce the risk of the cabinet door being forced should an intruder gain access to the cabinet, place the cabinet in a corner with the lock side of the door up to a wall. This will make it more difficult for an intruder to force the door.
  • Consider fitting the controlled drugs cabinet in a room which can itself be locked when unattended is preferable.
  • If possible, do not position the cabinet close to a radiator or similar heat source as this will affect the contents.
  • Make sure the cabinet is not fitted where it will be in direct sunlight. However, if the cabinet is fitted in an internal room this should not apply.
  • In order to make the cabinet less noticeable, position it adjacent to similar storage cupboards.
  • Constantly manned rooms or rooms under constant surveillance are preferable for the fitting of controlled drugs cabinets.
  • Only install a controlled drugs cabinet in a room that is used for medical purposes.
  • In order to facilitate the safe use and easy access of the controlled drugs cabinet a wall mounted cabinet should not be fitted higher than 1750mm from floor to the top of the unit.
  • Ensure the correct Anchor bolts are used when fixing the cabinet to the wall. These fixings must be provided by the manufacturer as required by the Misuse of drugs (safe custody) regulations 1973.

Controlled drugs cabinets must be securely fixed to a brick or block-work wall or to a concrete floor.

Anchor bolts are provided for this purpose and the instructions enclosed with the cabinet should be followed to ensure it is fitted correctly in order to comply with the Misuse of drugs (safe custody) regulations 1975. In order to comply each Controlled drugs cabinet will have an anchor plate welded over the cabinet fixing hole which should be at least 3mm thick and have a surface area of at least 19355 square millimetres. The purpose of this is to reinforce the area around the fixing hole and make forced removal from its fixing more difficult.

Advice for fitting Controlled drugs cabinet to a studded wall.

With the advent of new building construction methods some newly constructed interior walls are not constructed from solid block or brick, instead a studded wall technique is used. In this instance a floor mounted cabinet can be purchased or we will be happy to supply you with a modified cabinet to enable it to be floor mounted. This new studded wall method can present problems in securely fitting a controlled drugs cabinet if wall fixing only is required.

In this instance there are alternative methods of fixing the cabinet to this type of wall but we advise you contact your accountable officer to obtain their approval prior to proceeding.

One method of fixing a controlled drugs cabinet to a studded wall is as follows.

If the studded wall is currently under construction try to reinforce the studding around the area the cabinet is to be fitted with structural members. A steel plate at least twice the size of the rear of the cabinet can be securely fixed inside the wall. This steel plate should have holes with captive nuts welded to it at the same hole positions as those in the rear of the cabinet. The cabinet can then be bolted through the plaster into the steel plate.

If the studded wall is existing, then a steel plate as described above can be fitted to the other side of the wall with bolts welded to the plate which should protrude through the wall to the other side where the cabinet is required. The cabinet can then be fitted over the bolts and fixed from the inside of the cabinet using locking nuts. If this method is used there should be no possibility of unbolting the cabinet from the outside (that why the bolts heads should be welded to the plate).

We will be happy to assist you with any specific and individual problem you may have regarding fitting controlled drugs cabinets. We can design and manufacture individual solutions to your specific fitting problems. Just call, us we’ll be happy to help.