My post on this news story hasn’t turned out the way I thought it was going to.
I thought it was going to be about schadenfreude.
Here’s the story from the Atlanta Business Chronical, OSHA fines Home Depot $150K in Ohio. (Home Depot is headquartered in Atlanta.)
There were all sorts of safety violations, including using cords with missing ground pins and failing to inspect them; blocked exit routes; and improper record-keeping.
The reason the fine was so big was because they’d been warned (and given a small fine) but the deficiencies had not been corrected.
Now, what does this have to do with barefooting?
Keep in mind that OSHA applies only to employers and employees. It does not apply to customers. But Home Depot is one of those places that often ban barefoot patrons. For instance, here’s a photo of one of their entrance signs in Delaware.
(Click for more readable version.)
So I was all set to write an ironic post on how they spend all this time and money on barefoot signs, promoting a fear regarding safety on something that really isn’t unsafe, while at the same time disregarding the really unsafe stuff.
Did you notice that the store that was fined was in Ohio?
So did I. In fact the story was also in our local Columbus Dispatch: OSHA cites Reynoldsburg Home Depot for safety violations. A spokesman is quoted as saying
Home Depot takes the “safety of our stores and that of our associates and customers extremely seriously,” spokesman Stephen Holmes said. “Our safety team jumps all over problems if they see them, and that’s what they’ve done in this case.”
Maybe they were spending too much time jumping on the fear of safety instead of real safety.
However, the Reynoldsburg Home Depot is my local Home Depot. (I’ve been there maybe only once because of their no-bare-feet signs. There’s a Lowes nearby that I use instead.) It’s just up the road from my house.
So I wanted a picture of their barefoot sign, instead of some sign from Delaware. I went there with my camera, barefoot of course, and went in.
There was a greeter. (Note to stores: having a greeting like Wal-Mart does not impress or help anybody.)
I walked by, and realized that there was no barefoot sign. The barefoot sign I’d seen back when the store first opened was no longer there. There was other signs about being careful, but no barefoot sign.
However, as I went by the greeter, I heard her murmer “barefoot” to herself. Then later, as I was in the main aisle looking at LED light bulbs, she reluctantly came up to me. (Let me note that she was probably just a bit past high school, and not over-confident.)
Greeter: Um, I don’t think you can be barefoot in here.
Me (cheerfully): Oh? Why not?
Greeter: Uh, there might be sharp things on the floor. We’d be liable.
Me: No you wouldn’t. Now that you’ve warned me, that takes care of that.
And that was it. She walked away, happy, I’m sure, that she didn’t have to deal with any sort of confrontation.
It sure surprised me.
But it also means that, at least in this instance, I really couldn’t push the irony of misdirected safety. They got it right.
Oh, and by the way, their floors were spotless and super clean.
If you’d like to read more about how OSHA works, and my interaction with them many years ago, you might enjoy my blog entry: OSHA? Oh, Sure