Leeds-based auto engineering and vehicle safety specialist SM UK has invested £200,000 to develop a fleet Covid-safe vehicles designed to provide workers with a secure and virus-free environment to eat and keep clean while working on remote sites. The first vehicles of their kind to be produced in Yorkshire, each welfare van is equipped with bespoke features such as sanitising stations, toilet facilities, a kitchen area and seating.
SM UK managing director Steve MacDonald said: “There is a growing demand for welfare vans as a result of Covid and this will help us reach new markets, as well as expand our offering to existing clients. Safety is always at the forefront of everything we do, from our crash-tested seats to hand-sanitising stations
“Many of our customers are in the construction industry and these vehicles are valuable assets for sites. They provide a great, Covid-secure base for anyone working in highway maintenance, rail, utilities, remote locations, or for teams working across different sites.”
Alongside welfare areas, the new vans will be equipped with SM UK’s roof-mounted solar panel, a unique feature which helps reduce emissions, oil use and engine wear. Each vehicle will also be fitted with the firm’s innovative Scene Lighting system, which improves safety by brightly illuminating the surrounding area.
As well as developing its own fleet, SM UK is also offering conversions for businesses with their own vans. Mr MacDonald said: “We expanded into bespoke van conversions a few years ago, offering customisable solutions from a single van to a nationwide fleet.
“Now, with the addition of the welfare features, we can install racking, lighting, safety equipment and more while taking into account the van’s uses, allowing us to transform it into exactly what the company needs for business.”
Established in 2000, SM UK works with some of the UK’s largest fleets to ensure their drivers have improved visibility of blind spots, reducing accidents and making roads safer. The firm, which employs 60 people across its Leeds head office and workshops in Leeds and Tamworth, expects to create ten new engineering and office-based roles in 2021.