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NSC summit highlights employer-worker collaboration on MSD prevention


Itasca, IL — The vast majority of the organizations that have taken the National Safety Council’s MSD Pledge receive regular feedback from frontline workers about reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Although that finding is encouraging to Paige DeBaylo, research manager for NSC’s MSD Solutions Lab, she stresses the development is merely a start.

“As a community,” DeBaylo said, “we have more to learn and do to keep workers safe.”

DeBaylo spoke Nov. 16 during the MSD Pledge 2.0: Empowering Organizations to Transform Workplace Safety virtual summit. The program included preliminary information from the MSD Solutions Index – a benchmarking survey that provides pledge members with an assessment of their progress on MSD risk-reduction efforts, safety culture, and innovation and collaboration.

Overall, 46% of index participants scored in the “proactive” category, while 39% were rated as “advancing” in their MSD prevention efforts.

Further, 81% of the organizations within the index are involved with MSD prevention technology, while 87% offer a means for workers to share safety improvement suggestions. NSC said it expects to publish a report on the index for charter members before the end of the year.

During a summit panel discussion in which organizational leaders explored their index experiences, Giovanni Gallara, chief clinical services officer at health care provider Concentra, touted the benefits of an open dialogue between supervisors and workers on MSD prevention strategies.

“Just receiving the support from them and knowing that they’re having those conversations and knowing that they’re looking for ways to improve is extremely helpful,” Gallara said. “Even them communicating that to us as staff members makes us feel a lot better, makes us feel supported and makes us see the light at the end of the tunnel for having a supportive environment focused on MSDs.”

MSDs are the most common workplace injury and the leading cause of worker disability, early retirement and limitations to gainful employment, NSC says. They include tendinitis, strains and sprains, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

“Having those actionable goals is really one of the first steps to be taken in MSD prevention and is an area that we want to offer more resources moving forward,” DeBaylo said.

To that end, NSC in October introduced the MSD Pledge 2.0. Whereas the initial pledge is aimed at reducing work-related MSDs by 25% by 2025, Pledge 2.0 is intended to mitigate MSDs beyond that time frame by growing access to safety best practices and technology.

“The MSD Pledge 2.0 is yet another example of our shared commitment to safety progress,” Sarah Ischer, senior program manager for the MSD Solutions Lab, said during the summit. “By increasing access to our incredible network and resources through this new pledge initiative, we have the ability to create safer workplaces, healthier communities and more equitable organizations so people can live their fullest lives on and off the clock.”

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