We all understand that wearing trousers in the heat of summer is uncomfortable at the best of time. No matter the style, material or thickness, trousers only add to the heat, and when working outside this is only exaggerated.

This biggest question is can I wear shorts to work, well the answer isn’t as simple and yes or no. In this article we will be looking at the reasons for and against wearing shorts in the workplace.

 

In the news

Wearing shorts at work has been in the news multiple times over the years. Bans have been put in place from councils, worksites and many others.

In 2011 the express wrote an article about a council changing their rules on shorts at the workplace. The new rules stopped gardeners from wearing work shorts due to potential scuffs and grazes. They went on to speak to a former councillor who runs a garden centre, he said “There is too much rule-making going on. If gardeners are hoeing or planting out, why not allow them to wear shorts?”

These rules were set by Calderdale council in Yorkshire, and is a clear example of how some companies are trying to protect the workers against even the smallest of injuries.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/252801/Shorts-Sorry-too-risky

 

Soon after this Stoke-on-Trent city council come under fire for a similar rule. It was reported that they had banned shorts wearing for refuse collection crews under fear of injury. Potential hazards such as broken glass, discarded needles, thorns and other sharp objects were thought to be at blame.

It was later confirmed by the council that they were never ‘banned’ but employees were advised against wearing them for risk of injury. These guidelines are often relaxed during periods of hot weather, as this was the case in 2013.

 

Are you allowed to wear shorts at work?

 

Hazards

There can be certain hazards in the workplace which could injure the legs. These injuries could include lacerations, punctures and scrapes. With the addition of protective clothing such as trousers these injuries could have been avoided.  Wearing shorts would not be suitable in the workplace if hazards such as these are present.

Wearing shorts would also not be suitable for the following potential hazards:

  • Cold weather
  • Rain
  • Working around sharp objects
  • Wet cement

Wearing shorts in the summer could also propose its own risks. For instance exposure to the sun could cause skin conditions and burning.

 

Regulations

Although there are not currently any regulations directly mentioning work shorts, there are a few which reference safety in general. For instance The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 mentioned that you need to protect the body from hazards. As mentioned above there will be multiple environments where hazards are present.

These hazards will become more apparent when a risk assessment is taken out. This should be completed by a manager or health & safety officer.

Source: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/2966/contents/made

 

But what if there isn’t a hazard

Well in this case, you should consult with your health & safety officer or manager. There may be workplace policies which could directly inhibit the wearing of shorts. If there isn’t any hazards nor there is a block on wearing shorts then wearing shorts would be fine.

So, in short, wearing work shorts is fine if there isn’t any hazards or policies saying otherwise.