A CONSTRUCTION company has banned staff from driving more than 100 miles a day as part of a package of measures to improve safety in the industry.

Poole-based SMD Ltd has is urging other employers to follow similar policies to look after staff.

The business already requires site workers to stay in hotels when away from home rather than drive long distances.

Its 34 Renault vans covered a total of 551,447 miles in 2016, transporting staff and materials around the UK, and it has added 25 vehicles to the fleet this year.

Managing director Ben Pratten said: “We have a duty of care to all employees and safety is our number one priority – not just on-site but in every aspect of our work.

“We have more than 100 staff working on projects across the UK and huge amounts of materials being transported to construction sites from Devon to north Scotland.

“It is imperative therefore to have a set of common sense policies in place to safeguard SMD staff when they are on the road. And with around three million people employed in the UK construction industry, equating to 10 per cent of the total workforce, I would urge other companies to take note of our strategy.”

The company’s policies for drivers also include replacing all vehicles every three years, carrying out weekly vehicle checks and repairing damage quickly.

In 2016, 324 billion miles were driven in the UK. There were 181,384 reported casualties, of which 24,101 were serious injuries and 1,792 fatal. This compares favourably with all EU countries except Sweden and Malta, while accident statistics for the USA are four times higher.

Cars are involved in 46 per cent of road accidents, pedestrians 25 per cent, motorcycles 18 per cent and cyclists six per cent. Lorries and vans are included in an “other” category which accounts for six per cent. Vans accounted for six68 casualties in 2016 and lorries 66.

Mr Pratten said: “Although the accident rate for vans is relatively low, we want to drive it lower and we strive for this by continuing to provide our workforce with the best vehicles and equipment on the market.”

SMD is one of a handful of British firms to design, manufacture and install its own steel decking systems. Founded in Ringwood in 1987, it is now based at Tower Park, with a satellite office in Dubai and a design base in India. Its local work includes projects at the RNLI, Bournemouth Airport and Bournemouth University.