Kicking off National Safety Month, and one year after announcing a historic partnership with Amazon, the National Safety Council unveiled the first-of-its-kind MSD Pledge to reduce the most common workplace injury, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). During the inaugural Workplace Safety Summit: Business Action to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries, more than 15 of the nation’s leading organizations joined this effort and signed the pledge to improve workplace safety, reduce MSD risk, and enhance all workers’ well-being.
MSDs – such as tendinitis, back strains and sprains, and carpal tunnel syndrome – impact nearly a quarter of the world’s population and are the leading cause of worker disability, early retirement, and limitations to gainful employment. The MSD Pledge seeks to create safer outcomes for millions of workers worldwide by reducing these injuries by 25% by 2025. By making critical changes, employers will also build more equitable workplaces for frontline workers and communities of color, which are two groups disproportionately impacted by MSDs.
Along with Amazon and NSC, founding pledge members include Alcon Research, LLC; Ansell Inteliforz; Amentum; American Industrial Hygiene Association; AMP; Benchmark ESG; Cummins Inc.; Human Balance and Stability Systems, LLC; John Deere; MEGA InTech; Meteorite; Tenneco; United Airlines; and VelocityEHS.
Organizations signing the MSD Pledge promise to:
- Reduce risks by analyzing the causes of MSD injuries across operations and investing in solutions and practices that reduce risks to workers.
- Innovate and collaborate by leveraging best practices and sharing learnings and countermeasures to expand upon innovations to improve safety practices.
- Build an organizational culture that values safety by promoting a workplace where safety excellence, transparency, and accurate reporting are equally valued, and where everyone, at every level of the organization, is accountable for the safety and health of workers.
- Commit to a significant reduction of MSD injuries by creating safer outcomes for millions of workers worldwide and reducing MSD risk and subsequent injuries by 25% by 2025.
“While there are no sirens associated with MSDs, their impact is alarming and the damage does not stop when workers leave for the day,” said Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO. “At NSC, our mission is not only to save lives, but also to prevent injuries and we are asking employers everywhere to join the MSD Pledge and keep workers safe, so they can spend more time doing the things they love with the people they love – which is precisely what this month, National Safety Month, represents.”
“We’re always investing in new ways to keep our employees safe, and we look forward to working with NSC and the companies that sign this pledge to keep getting better every day,” said Heather MacDougall, Amazon vice president for workplace health and safety. “MSDs are a challenge across many different industries, and this pledge will bring together forward-thinking leaders and allow us to share successes and innovate on behalf of all our employees.”
In addition to accessing free resources and sharing safety innovations to help reduce MSD risks, MSD Pledge members will participate in the MSD Solutions Index, an annual company index that analyzes the benefits of the pledge over time. The index will aggregate data on risk reduction strategies, workplace safety culture, and innovation and collaboration, while also identifying areas for targeted action and uncovering trends to inform future approaches. MSD Pledge members benefit from free events, training and coaching opportunities from the Council’s team of ergonomics experts, as well as opportunities to share best practices and lessons learned with one another. Participation in the MSD Pledge is free and open to any employer that is committed to identifying and reducing risks of MSD injuries and creating a culture of safety at work.
“All employees, no matter what company you work for, deserve a safe workplace,” said Donald Flores, United Airlines ramp service employee. “Every day I work hard, safe and smart with the expectation to get back home so I can live my fullest life. I’m proud to work for United and appreciate the high safety standards that are in place to reduce injuries.”
The MSD Pledge was developed at the MSD Solutions Lab, a groundbreaking initiative established as part of the NSC and Amazon partnership to solve this omnipresent safety challenge. Led by NSC, the pledge is one of several initiatives launching in 2022 to achieve the program goal of preventing MSDs before they start, including:
- Advisory Council: NSC has named the founding members of the advisory council for this groundbreaking program. Composed of volunteers, these experts in safety, health, ergonomics and innovation support and inform the program’s work by engaging in, researching, solving, and amplifying MSD prevention efforts.
- MSD 2025 Pioneering Research: Support comprehensive research efforts, including utilizing natural language processing, case studies, reports, and expansive systematic reviews and meta-analyses to explore current and future MSD prevention-related strategies. The research findings will be available to all industries to explore and glean insights.
- Innovation Challenges: Individuals and organizations alike will have the opportunity to develop and share cutting-edge solutions to prevent and eliminate workplace-related MSDs. During this competition, prizes and grants will be awarded to honor innovation and help fund these solutions.
- Small Business and University Grants: Provide grants to small businesses, universities, and students to fund research and innovation that help companies of all sizes achieve impact.
“At United Airlines, safety is at the foundation of everything we do – especially when it comes to our employees,” said Sasha Johnson, United Airlines vice president of corporate safety. “We are committed to providing a safe and supportive work environment, as well as ensuring they have the best information, resources and training. Joining the MSD Pledge furthers our safety commitment as we work together with other organizations to take on the challenge of reducing MSDs.”
To learn more about the MSD Pledge, the MSD Solutions Lab, and the risks associated with MSDs, visit nsc.org/msd.