Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, are unfortunately all too common in the workplace. In fact, they’re the leading cause of worker disability, involuntary retirement, and limitations to gainful employment.
These injuries not only impact employee wellbeing, but also have a major impact on business efficiencies. To help reduce the number of work-related MSDs, the National Safety Council has launched two new grant programs, called Research to Solutions (R2S) and MSDs Pilot Grant 1.0.
The Council is awarding $285,000 to these programs in the hopes of finding promising new safety solutions.
The MSD Solutions Lab, a strategic initiative established in 2021 with Amazon to help organizations of all sizes reduce MSDs, is behind these new grant programs.
According to Paul Vincent, NSC executive vice president of workplace practice, “MSDs are incredibly complex injuries that impact workers in every industry and sector, which is why finding effective solutions and being able to scale results across a range of operating environments is central to the Council’s mission.”
Carla Gunnin, director of Global Governance and External Affairs for Workplace Health and Safety at Amazon, added that “Encouraging innovation is what the MSD Solutions Lab is all about, We appreciate the Council’s leadership in this space, and we’re excited about the research that will come from these grants, because we believe it can be used to improve workplace safety around the world.”
To give you a bit more information, MSDs can include tendinitis, back strains and sprains, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, and are often caused by repetitive, forceful exertions like heavy lifting.
Each grant is designed to further MSD prevention:
- Research to Solutions: This program invites academic institutions, businesses, and industries to innovate new solutions for MSDs, focusing on occupational injury risk reduction that can be seamlessly integrated across a range of sectors and workplaces. R2S proposals should support one or more key research areas, including emerging technologies, solutions to jobs or tasks known to have high MSD risk, MSD management systems, future of work, and total worker wellbeing. Up to $75,000 per approved research project will be awarded, for a total of $225,000 in grants.
- MSDs Pilot Grant 1.0: This program aims to prevent MSDs specifically caused by manual material handling by matching organizations with innovative technology providers to trial emerging technologies in real-life applications. The inaugural grant is available to members of the MSD Pledge community willing to partner with the six leading technology providers featured at the 2022 NSC Safety Congress & Expo. A total of $60,000 will be awarded.
The list of inaugural grant recipients will be announced in June 2023 and the winners will have an opportunity to present their safety findings at the 2024 NSC Safety Congress & Expo or another event.