Movement to improve workplace safety covers nearly 2.9 million employees worldwide; grant recipients to help advance musculoskeletal disorder research and innovation

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, are the most common workplace injury and the second leading cause in shortening people's working years in the U.S. They also cost businesses in the private sector nearly $17 billion each year. Recognizing the impact these injuries have on workers and employers, the National Safety Council launched the MSD Pledge in June 2022 and the MSD Pledge 2.0 in October 2023 to spur a global movement to transform workplace safety and improve the lives of millions of workers. Today, more than 200 of the world's leading organizations – representing nearly 2.9 million employees – have joined this effort to reduce MSD risk and enhance the physical and psychological wellbeing of all workers.

The National Safety Council is dedicated to eliminating the leading causes of preventable death and injury focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. (PRNewsfoto/National Safety Council)

To commemorate this milestone, the MSD Solutions Lab, a groundbreaking NSC initiative established in 2021 with funding from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) to solve workplace MSDs, today hosted its third annual Workplace Safety Summit: Harnessing Innovation and Collaboration. During the event, a keynote address was given by Julia Abate, executive director for the Ergonomics Center at North Carolina State University, and a panel discussion was held with MSD Pledge members Schneider Electric and Superior Tube Products, in addition to 2023-2024 Research to Solutions (R2S) grant recipient Rutgers University. NSC also proudly awarded nearly $265,000 through the 2024-2025 R2S and MSD Solutions Pilot Grant programs to help nine leading organizations uncover promising new safety solutions to prevent work-related MSDs. As a key initiative of the MSD Solutions Lab, a total of $540,000 has now been committed in grants over the past two years.

"At NSC, we believe every employee deserves to work in an environment where their safety is valued, and risks and injuries are minimized. The MSD Solutions Lab addresses the critical toll MSDs take on people and businesses, and I'm incredibly proud of the progress we have made in just three years," said Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO. "Between growing the MSD Pledge to more than 200 committed organizations and awarding grants to some of the nation's top innovators, we are one step closer to helping workers everywhere lead healthier, fuller, MSD-free lives."

"We value our NSC partnership because of our shared commitment to reducing MSDs through engaging key stakeholders, conducting research, identifying new technology, innovating solutions and scaling the results," said Sarah Rhoads, Vice President of Global Workplace Health and Safety at Amazon. "We're proud to see how far this important initiative has come and look forward to even more organizations joining us as MSD Pledge members."

For the 2024-2025 grant cycle, NSC called upon R2S applicants to support one or more key research areas, including emerging technologies, solutions to jobs or tasks known to have high MSD risk, MSD management systems, and total worker wellbeing. This year's R2S grant recipients include the following organizations:

  • Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia), awarded $50,000 to examine responsible machine learning and artificial intelligence-based biomechanical exposure assessments across diverse worker groups.
  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North Carolina), awarded $50,000 to evaluate an augmented reality-based visualization and optimization tool on work zones to assess real-time object placement.
  • Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon), awarded $50,000 to develop a non-invasive lower back injury risk assessment using a smartphone motion capture system with machine learning and musculoskeletal modeling.
  • Wichita State University (Wichita, Kansas), awarded $48,500 to assess the feasibility of utilizing arm support exoskeletons for overhead construction tasks and evaluating the impact on musculoskeletal health.

This year's MSD Solutions Pilot Grant, which is designed to help organizations prevent MSDs caused by upper-extremity work, provides MSD Pledge members with the opportunity to partner with six leading technology providers to trial emerging solutions in real-life applications. Pledge members selected for the 2024-2025 MSD Solutions Pilot Grant include:

  • Ocean Spray Cranberries and the City of Tacoma, awarded $20,000, will work with Feraru Dynamics LTD to mitigate hand-arm vibration measures and exposure among 20 power tool operators across the food manufacturing and public utilities industries in Tacoma, Washington.
  • PepsiCo Global Concentrates Solutions, awarded $18,000, will team with LifeBooster to collect and analyze ergonomic risk data and identify upper-extremity mitigation strategies.
  • Wonderbrands, awarded $18,000, will partner with LifeBooster to identify and address ergonomic risks caused by upper-extremity work and heavy lifting, in addition to evaluating in-house capabilities for digitized risk assessments to help reduce injuries.
  • Superior Tube Products, awarded $10,000, will use 3motionAI's video motion capture technology to quantify the impact of existing safety programs and create an enterprise evaluation of risk and actionable data to drive ergonomic solutions for all employees.

This year's grant recipients will have an opportunity to present their safety findings at the 2025 NSC Safety Congress & Expo or another event next year. The inaugural recipients will share their key learnings and research at this year's NSC Safety Congress & Expo in Orlando, Florida taking place September 16-18.

The MSD Pledge and R2S and MSD Solutions Pilot Grant programs are among several initiatives supported by the MSD Solutions Lab to achieve its goal of reducing MSDs. To learn more about these efforts, visit nsc.org/msd or attend the upcoming 2024 NSC Safety Congress & Expo to hear about the latest in MSD prevention by registering here.  

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America's leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for 110 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace and roadways. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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SOURCE National Safety Council

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