NSC Commits Nearly $300,000 in Grants to Solve Most Common Workplace Injury

Groundbreaking MSD Solutions Lab initiative launches inaugural grant programs to advance musculoskeletal disorder research and innovation.

March 22, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, are the most common workplace injury and represent the leading cause of worker disability, involuntary retirement and limitations to gainful employment. Recognizing the outsized impact these injuries have on both employee wellbeing and business efficiencies, the National Safety Council is awarding $285,000 through two newly launched grant programs: Research to Solutions (R2S) grant and MSD Solutions Pilot Grant 1.0. These programs will help uncover promising new safety solutions that reduce instances of work-related MSDs.

The R2S grant and MSD Solutions Pilot Grant 1.0 are the latest efforts introduced by the Council’s MSD Solutions Lab, a groundbreaking strategic initiative established in 2021 with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) to help organizations of all sizes reduce MSDs.

“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,” said Paul Vincent, NSC executive vice president of workplace practice. “Safety is all about continuous improvement and, by tapping the brightest minds and greatest resources across our vast safety community through these new grant programs, we will be even better positioned to advance safer outcomes for all workers.”

“Encouraging innovation is what the MSD Solutions Lab is all about,” said Carla Gunnin, director of Global Governance and External Affairs for Workplace Health and Safety at Amazon. “The R2S grant and MSDs Pilot Grant 1.0 create opportunities for researchers and innovators to test the boundaries of how MSDs in the workplace can be mitigated. 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.”

MSDs include tendinitis, back strains and sprains, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, and are often caused by exposures to repetitive, forceful exertions like heavy lifting. Acknowledging the scope of MSDs, each grant is designed to further MSD prevention: 

Research to Solutions, which will award up to $75,000 per approved research project, for a total of $225,000 in grants, 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. 

MSD Solutions Pilot Grant 1.0, which will award a total of $60,000, 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. 

NSC will announce the list of inaugural grant recipients 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. 

The R2S and MSD Solutions Pilot Grant 1.0 are two of several initiatives supported by the MSD Solutions Lab to achieve its goal of preventing MSDs. To learn more about these efforts, visit nsc.org/msd. To learn more about the grant programs and application requirements, visit nsc.org/R2SGrant and nsc.org/PilotGrant.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for more than 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.

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