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