Binman wears a hi-vis KILT in the heat ‘after his bosses banned him from wearing shorts’
A garbage man who says bosses have banned him from wearing shorts for health and safety reasons found an ingenious solution to their dress code by wearing a high-visibility kilt.
Lee Moran, 50, protested with his clothes as temperatures soared above 25C and York City Council bosses insisted he must wear trousers.
The father of three had campaigned for years to wear shorts in the height of summer, so on Monday June 11 he donned a fluorescent orange kilt to take a stand against their politics.
Mr Moran said the response to his protest had been “absolutely amazing” and he hoped to persuade the council to change its approach before temperatures soar next week.
He said: “For the last five years I’ve asked about wearing shorts and they’ve just lobbed health and safety at me from left to right and centre.
Lee Moran, 50, was wearing a high-visibility kilt as temperatures soared past 25C and York City Council bosses told him to stay covered
“But one of the managers came up to me and said, ‘Look Lee, you can wear a kilt. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a kilt.
“So I waited until the temperature rose above 25°C and Monday was the perfect opportunity for that.
He added: “The public response has been absolutely amazing and I’ve even had some York City councilors call me and say, ‘We’re right behind you.’
Mr Moran said he always trusted his managers when they told him he was banned from wearing shorts for health and safety reasons.
But when he recently went online and looked up the regulations, he was shocked to discover that was actually not true.
Mr Moran said the response to his protest had been “absolutely amazing” and he hoped to persuade the council to change its approach before temperatures soar next week
He said: “This year I decided to look online. I’ve looked at the health and safety laws and there are no laws regarding garbage men wearing shorts.
“It’s up to our managers and health and safety in the workplace. So I just put it to the managers: ‘why are you using health and safety as an excuse when it’s really just about public image?’
“One of the managers then admitted it was basically ‘reputation’, so I said, ‘We sweat, work hard in the sun just to look good for the public?’
‘I said, ‘It’s okay to say ‘health and safety’, but you’re not taking our welfare into account at the same time.
“We’re sweating in these pants, we’re in danger of collapsing.”
Mr Moran said he ordered the £60 kilt online from a supplier in Canada and only put it on after his suspect managers made inquiries into his clothing that day.
He said: “Instead of going to work like I usually do, I met at work. I was in my regular work clothes and waited for the manager to call the driver to see if I had the kilt on.
“As soon as the manager called, I put on the kilt and worked in it all day. My work colleagues are all for it. They loved it.’
Mr Moran said he ordered the £60 kilt online from a supplier in Canada and only put it on after his suspect managers made inquiries into his clothing that day
Mr Moran, who works at sites across the city of York, said many local residents had been sympathetic to his protest.
He said he hoped York City Council would change its policy, especially as another local authority nearby has its bin men throw away their trousers.
But he was concerned they were not acting quickly enough as thermostats were set to soar above 40C in some parts of the country next week.
Mr Moran said: “They called Scarborough Council, just 40 miles from us. They are allowed to wear shorts so they asked them about their shorts policy.
“And basically they went out and got some shorts from suppliers, so hopefully we get an assessment.
“However, the Health and Safety Manager happens to be on holiday this week.
Responding to Mr Moran’s protest, Ben Grabham, head of environmental services at York City Council, said shorts had been banned to protect garbage collectors from “sharp objects”.
“We’re saying we need this now – we don’t want to wait another week, next week will be red hot.
“They said, ‘These things take time,’ but we don’t have time. The weather is not waiting for us.”
In response to Mr Moran’s protest, Ben Grabham, head of environmental services at York City Council, said shorts had been banned to protect bin collectors from “sharp objects”.
He said: “We are all experiencing hot weather at the moment so can sympathize with anyone working in direct sun. The health, safety and well-being of our employees is our top priority.
“The reason our waste pickers wear pants is to protect them from sharp objects that may be in recycling crates or bags.
“We appreciate that working outdoors is very warm at this moment and we support our crews who are encouraged to take regular rest breaks and wear hats and sunscreen which will be made available to them.
“We are conducting a review of all of our extreme weather operations with our Health & Safety team, but we are not sure that a kilt will necessarily be the right option for our staff.”