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World first in ergonomic design for SKYCITY staff

04 August 2004

World first in ergonomic design for SKYCITY staff

A world first in ergonomically designed gaming table equipment will be presented at the Annual Conference of the New Zealand Ergonomics Society, in Taupo, August 5-6.

SKYCITY Entertainment Group's Health and Safety Manager, Peter Roy said the presentation outlines the analysis and design steps the company took to minimise discomfort for card dealing staff, when developing tables for a new casino area within SKYCITY.

"The opening of our new 'PLAY' Casino in December 2003 gave us an ideal opportunity to assess our existing table game equipment and to make modifications by applying ergonomic principals to the design of the new gaming tables.

"A review of injury data highlighted upper extremity, neck and back discomfort as an occupational health and safety concern for dealers, a problem that is now accepted as being widespread in the gaming industry world-wide. SKYCITY wanted to improve workplace designs to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders in table games dealers. Consequently, we sought assistance from a consulting Ergonomist and established a cross-functional team of SKYCITY staff to redesign new gaming tables. Our research indicated that little work had been done on the ergonomic aspects of gaming table designs, and anecdotal reports suggesting that any design changes were either completed on a local or ad hoc basis - or not at all.

"The project involved detailed analyses of the existing table designs, interviews with dealing staff, work task observation and conducting a 'fitting-the-person-to-the-task' review. Based on this, prototype Blackjack and Roulette tables were developed and refined via several project team reviews and field-testing with a range of experienced gaming staff. A modified tilted card dealing "shoe" (from which cards are dealt for Blackjack) prototype was also developed, tested, and implemented to address the identified manual risk factors in card handling.

"The resulting new 'ergonomic' Blackjack, Roulette and Money Wheel tables have a range of features that appear to be a world first within the gaming industry. The tables and new equipment were installed into 'PLAY', SKYCITY's newest casino area, with very positive initial and ongoing feedback from gaming staff. Since the introduction of the new tables, we have experienced a significant reduction in work-related discomfort complaints amongst the staff who use the new equipment," said Mr Roy.

SKYCITY's ergonomic gaming table design, which was also discussed at the 2nd Annual Conference on the 'Human Factor in Workplace Safety & Quality' (Auckland on 29-30 July), will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygiene (AIOH) in Freemantle, Perth, in December 2004.

Professor of Medicine at University of Auckland, Des Gorman, who chaired the Auckland conference said that he was impressed with SKYCITY's systematic approach to ensuring staff comfort.

"SKYCITY's new ergonomic gaming tables are innovative and world leading. The company has, without compromise, done what is needed to make staff as comfortable as possible, and is a role model for future such development within the industry," said Professor Gorman.

SKYCITY plans to continue to modify and improve the designs of its gaming tables, and to progressively roll out these new ergonomic design features across its sites as new equipment is introduced, as in the case of the redeveloped SKYCITY Auckland Members Club and SKYCITY Adelaide's current $70 million redevelopment, or as part of updates and refurbishments to existing facilities.


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