NSC Labor Division news Ergonomics Worker health and wellness Musculoskeletal disorders

‘Spend some time’ with workers and supervisors to help reduce MSDs: experts


Itasca, IL — Taking simple steps before work begins can help curb job-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Multiple experts reiterated that message on June 13 during the National Safety Council MSD Solutions Lab’s third annual virtual Workplace Safety Summit.

As the lab aims to reduce work-related MSDs by increasing access to safety best practices and technology – in part through commitment to its free MSD Pledge – member organizations tout the success of small but impactful activities to help keep workers safe. These include job planning, worksite assessment and stretching.

“There’s the $5 fix, there’s a $5,000 fix and there’s a $5 million fix,” physical therapist Dustin Reinbold said in a video played during the event. “And if you just spend some time with the employees, with your supervisors, and talk to them, you can usually find lots of $5 fixes out there that can make a real difference.”

Reinbold works alongside employees at Schneider Electric, one of the 200-plus organizations that have signed the pledge. That figure stood at 16 when the MSD Solutions Lab launched the pledge in 2022.

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

“These injuries may not take someone’s life,” Paul Vincent, executive vice president of workplace practice at NSC, said during the event, “but they do take someone’s ability to enjoy their hobbies or play with their kids. These are not small losses, and we can’t afford to overlook them as a community, because not only do these injuries impact workers, but their families, employers and also communities.”

Dana Schultz, human resources and safety manager at Superior Tube Products, said her organization has reduced MSD injuries nearly 90% since signing the pledge.

One of its features, the MSD Solutions Index, offers members information about other participants’ MSD prevention efforts. Schultz credits the tool for helping Superior Tube in its mission to mitigate injuries related to repetitive motion, heavy lifting and awkward postures that can be common during steel tubing fabrication.

“You get access to companies all across the country that are in different stages of their safety program,” Schultz said.

Added Sarah Ischer, senior program manager for the MSD Solutions Lab: “When an organization joins the pledge community, they’re truly joining a community that they can share ideas with, network, benchmark and really understand what they can do to make their workplaces safer.”

Further, NSC announced it has awarded nearly $265,000 through its Research to Solutions and MSD Solutions Pilot Grant programs.

In a press release, NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said through the growth of the pledge “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.”

Grant recipients will be able to present safety findings at the 2025 NSC Safety Congress & Expo in Denver or another event in 2025.

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