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Get a Grip: Health in the Gaming Industry.

The casino conjures up images of pleasure: the thrill of the win, the anxious grip on the slot machine handle and flashing lights in dimly lit spaces. What it does not promote is musculoskeletal health.

This past week, Trent Shuford, president and CEO of InjuryFree Inc. was in Las Vegas, Nev. for the G2E Global Gaming Expo, offering his expertise to those who don’t want a culture of bad health to seep from the casino floor into the casino worker’s life.

His presentation, “Employee Health and Safety First: Prevention and Mitigation” aimed to convince those in the gaming industry that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

While riddled with pleasure, the gaming industry is an ergonomic time bomb waiting to explode. Off the casino floor, programmers and slot machine technicians strain their necks and eyes, sometimes for hours on end, to create mind-numbing computer code and fix minuscule machinery. The culture continues onto the casino floor where gamblers hunch over their favorite slots, flashing lights prompting their repetitive pulls or button pushing.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, thoracic outlet syndrome and tension neck syndrome could be just around the corner for both the casino culture creator and customer.

Here are three things that employers can do about this impending health care fiasco.

  1. Get a handle on your ergonomics environment. It might seem like a basic first step, but if not done right an incomplete assessment can lead to problems down the road. These assessments can be done over the phone, online or via an in-person expert. If you don’t know what is wrong in the workplace, it is a lot harder to prevent problems.  Get a good road map.
  2. Challenge yourself to a challenge. You know you have to change something, now what? Anyone who has tried change from starting a new diet to changing a major workplace process knows that shifting the status quo isn’t easy. A little external motivation helps. Since we are talking about slot machines, why not try this grip assessing exercise? It aims to educate employees about optimal grip strength, common injuries associated with weak grip strength, and to provide education and tools for increasing grip strength. You would be amazed at the injuries that can be prevented with a good grip.
  3. Don’t forget to encourage a little fun. Help employees do something that makes them healthy and happy. Start up a softball league, go for walks at lunch or do a healthy eating recipe challenge. The possibilities are endless, but thankfully the musculoskeletal pain wont’ be.

If you want a little more entertainment, try this fun game to test your hotel workplace safety prowess.

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