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Postmen in Cheltenham banned from wearing shorts - because of health and safety

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

Health warning:  Postmen were banned from wearing shorts during the cold winter weather

Health warning: Postmen were banned from wearing shorts during the cold winter weather

Comments (26)

POSTMEN in and around Cheltenham are fuming after being banned from wearing shorts on their rounds.

Incensed workers based at the Swindon Road delivery office were told they had been banned because they might get frost-bite or chapped skin.

The health and safety ruling followed a postman grazing his leg when he fell over in the recent icy conditions.

But several of the depot's 200 postmen were furious at the ban because they prefer to wear shorts in all weather to keep their legs cool.

Some walk for up to 10 miles every day on their rounds and feel much more comfortable in shorts than trousers.

Yesterday, Royal Mail claimed that as temperatures had risen, the ban on shorts had been lifted.

But staff told the Echo that had not been made clear to them.

One, who asked not to be named, said: "We're all disgusted about it.

"I find wearing shorts much more comfortable as I feel more restricted in trousers and my legs do get warm."

He said he and another half-a-dozen colleagues felt strongly on the issue and were so used to wearing shorts in all weathers that they did not notice the cold.

The postal workers felt, he said, that the shorts ban had been over the top and it had been a case of health and safety gone mad.

He added that many of the staff were members of the Communication Workers' Union and, should the ban continue, it might get involved.

He said: "There's an agreement between Royal Mail and the union which stipulates the rules about uniforms and there's nothing saying you can't wear shorts.

Annoyed

"I'm very annoyed. I can't stand wearing trousers when I'm on the go all the time."

Another of the postmen, who also did not want to be identified, said the ban had started on Monday.

However, he added that some staff were still able to wear shorts because they were waiting for trousers to be ordered for them.

He said: "The manager came round on Saturday and said that if you wore shorts you would be sent home."

He said he understood the ruling followed a colleague having a grazed leg caused by ice spikes being attached to his shoes for extra grip during the cold snap.

He added that wearing shorts during colder weather often led to light-hearted exchanges with customers, which he enjoyed.

When the Echo contacted Royal Mail last night, spokesman Adrian Booth said: "Our priority is for the health and safety of our staff and risks of frostbite and chapped skin should not be taken lightly.

"Following a local incident in which a colleague was injured in a fall, we advised our staff in the Cheltenham area not to wear shorts, to reduce the risk of injury during severe local weather.

"Now weather conditions have improved, our staff have been advised that this guidance is no longer relevant."

OPINION, P8

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26 comments

  • Saffy  |  February 12 2013, 4:45PM

    Could have used a better picky TIG...I see much fitter post men than that...ha ha!

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  • Saffy  |  February 12 2013, 4:45PM

    Could have used a better picky TIG...I see much fitter post men than that...ha ha!

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  • uselesswonder  |  February 01 2013, 7:43PM

    well the next thing wil be outdoors workers will have to wear balalclava's so the nose doesn't get cold....What a load of rubbish this ruling is. Health and safety is all well and good when it is sensible but the thing is it is becoming more and more ridiculous by the day. How on earth can wearign shorts for walking in be dangerous???? You might want to tell the road diggers that bare chested working in the summer is dangerous - much more dangerous than walking and delivering mail!

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  • Judas  |  February 01 2013, 12:50PM

    Steve_Thomas - No, you haven't read my previous comment properly. I said: "....a postie who is cycling in the dark, ON THE MAIN ROAD with no lights...." Nothing about jumping red lights or riding on the pavement, that's something that you have introduced for some reason.

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  • Steve_Thomas  |  February 01 2013, 11:57AM

    @Judas, if they ride on the pavement and jump red lights (which I've seen them do) then of course they are more of a danger to pedestrians. This is not only against the highway code but in this case also the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)

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  • Judas  |  February 01 2013, 10:53AM

    Steve_Thomas - So you think a postie who is cycling in the dark, on the main road with no lights are more of a danger to other road users (especially pedestrians on pavements) than to themselves? Astonishing!

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  • Steve_Thomas  |  February 01 2013, 10:13AM

    @Judas , posties on bikes are more of a danger to other road users (especially pedestrians on pavements ) than to themselves.

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  • LocalYoungMan  |  February 01 2013, 10:09AM

    Interesting story TiG - I am the postie who "grazed" my leg spoken about in the article. Firstly, it was more than a graze! I have a big bruise on the top of my leg and my knee where the 'graze' is in two places; my shoulder also hurt for the few days after. Yes, I was wearing shorts but as other posties have said they are easier to walk in and I feel more comfortable in them. I was shocked when my manager referenced wearing trousers would have protected me more! What rubbish! With regards to it being caused by "ice spikes" - these are things we put on our shoes to give us more grip on the ice, apparently not! The ice spikes had nothing to do with injuring me; it was myself going head over heels on the icy pavement! I've wore shorts every day since last March, it is ridiculous!

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  • LocalYoungMan  |  February 01 2013, 10:07AM

    Interesting story TiG - I am the postie who "grazed" my leg spoken about in the article. Firstly, it was more than a graze! I have a big bruise on the top of my leg and my knee where the 'graze' is in two places; my shoulder also hurt for the few days after. Yes, I was wearing shorts but as other posties have said they are easier to walk in and I feel more comfortable in them. I was shocked when my manager referenced wearing trousers would have protected me more! What rubbish! With regards to it being caused by "ice spikes" - these are things we put on our shoes to give us more grip on the ice, apparently not! The ice spikes had nothing to do with injuring me; it was myself going head over heels on the icy pavement! I've wore shorts every day since last March, it is ridiculous!

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  • Judas  |  February 01 2013, 9:50AM

    Look at the photo. The only 'exposed' flesh in those cold snowy icy conditions are the face and the calves. The face is exposed for obvious reasons but ALL other body parts are very well insulated except for the lower leg. It would be good for a postie to explain why they feel so strongly (incenced was the word the TiG used) that they had to go to the local press. Is it for comfort? Is it because they feel the generalpublic want to see their calves? 1. How many work places allow grown men to carry out their paid duties in a pair of shorts? 2. Are postman that bored that something as trivial as the denial of wearing shorts at work is worthy about going to the press about?

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