Many of our crew like to be comfortable when we're working. The
quiet environment of a hotel ballroom is conducive to that, with nice
carpets and lots of room to play with our toys. And many of us
prefer to work without shoes on, as shoes get too warm and often impede
our personal maneuverability.
For example, I'd far rather be up a ladder or scaffold barefoot so I
can feel what's going on with surfaces under me, and in my gigs where
it's more advisable to work in shoes [set strikes with drywall screws
flying in every direction, for instance] I wind up feeling quite clunky
by comparison. And that's just my own take on it, since 1980
Our propensity toward this sometimes raises questions about safety, but we make it clear: first, we're all volunteers. Nobody is responsible for our individual safety except ourselves, not the hotel or Arisia or the city of Boston or government agencies. There are relatively few real hazards around our work environment and the several of us who prefer working barefoot are well aware of watching for and avoiding them. The hotel staff has also learned over the years that this minor oddity [among hundreds of same, let's face it, but all harmless] lets us optimally do our jobs and they've always been fine with it.
However, a report filtered down through the administrative structure that *someone* had complained about this -- to the local OSHA office, in fact. Went out of their way to voice this kind of groundless discrimination, that makes about as much sense as complaining that some of us make certain lifestyle choices such as piercings or brightly dyed hair. Nobody seems able to indicate whether this person(s?) is from the hotel, from Arisia, from PSAV, or what, but the fact remains that there's some kind of professional whiner running around who has nothing better to do than pick on some trivial thing to try and make our lives difficult. Since we couldn't determine the origin or basis for any of this, we surmised that it *might* have had something to do with PSAV and decided that we would make nice and wear closed-toe shoes while working with them on the rigging calls. But when those calls were over, off they came.
This whistleblowing is completely unfounded and is nothing more than meddlesome interference, likely with malicious intent to disrupt Arisia operations. There are no applicable laws, statutes, or regulations affecting the general public about bare feet in any location indoors or out including food establishments, or while driving vehicles which is the other common societal misconception. See the "red box rant" from last year's report when the dysfunctional crew running Staff Den tried to pull the same kind of nonsense with us. There's especially no place for this at Arisia, which is a private event for its membership and none of our activities ever put the public, attendees or otherwise, at risk. There are *guidelines* from OSHA and similar agencies for workplace safety generally aimed at environments far more foot-hazardous than ours, but applicable only to employees and employers. Not to volunteers, hotel guests, and especially not to those who are in there busting their asses to make the con happen and PAYING for the privilege of doing so. OSHA furthermore does not have the authority to walk into a job site any time they want and shut it down for supposed violations, without proper court procedure first. See references.
Our crew is responsible adults; we all understand how to assess our own risk profiles and operate accordingly. The foot hazards typically found in a typical hotel ballroom are also be found in any home, and essentially the hotel *is* our home for the weekend and we'd prefer that our freedom of choice therein isn't infringed upon. This mole, or moles, needs to be found and either taught about constructive working relationships or permanently separated from any further contact with us. Or maybe dragged behind a pickup truck down some Mississippi backroad for a while, I dunno -- discrimination can go both ways, don't ever forget that.
In most of these, it's most useful to search for the word "authority"
as several of the documents describe OSHA's legal reach.