Musculoskeletal disorders

‘Proactively taking the lead’: NSC, Amazon partner to curb MSDs

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Itasca, IL — In an effort to help employers and workers mitigate the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and develop techniques to prevent these injuries, the National Safety Council is teaming up with Amazon to establish new research, technology and processes as part of a five-year partnership to combat a leading cause of workplace injuries.

Funded by a $12 million contribution from Amazon – the largest corporate endowment in NSC’s century-plus history – the partnership focuses on multiple industries and features five primary components:

  • Cutting-edge, widely available research that analyzes current and future MSD innovations and trends
  • Grant funding to small businesses and universities for research and innovation
  • Innovation Challenge competitions, which offer experts the opportunity to collaborate and share techniques and ideas to address MSDs
  • The MSD Pledge, an industry call to action encouraging organizations of all sizes to implement an MSD prevention program and advance solutions
  • An international advisory council made up of safety experts, corporations, and researchers in public and private sectors who will collaborate on best approaches to MSD prevention, among other goals

“We want to have all the voices that can help guide us, and we do want to be intentionally international,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said June 9 during a virtual press conference, “because some of the rules, regulations and cultural issues that might be present in some countries may be different from others, and we need to make sure that we’re addressing MSDs in the most global and impactful way we can.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines MSDs as soft-tissue injuries resulting from “sudden or sustained exposure to repetitive motion, force, vibration and awkward positions.” Areas affected may include the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints and cartilage in the neck, lower back and limbs.

“Through this partnership, we are proactively taking the lead to ensure injuries are addressed before they even occur,” Martin said. “Once we move the needle on this safety challenge, workers everywhere will realize the tangible benefits.”

Speaking alongside Martin, Heather MacDougall, vice president of worldwide workplace health and safety at Amazon, also lauded the partnership.

“There’s a lot of great work to do that I’m really excited about,” she said, “and I’m confident that it will deliver results and solutions to reducing MSDs.”