Groundbreaking Partnership with Amazon to Solve Most Common Workplace Injury in the U.S. - National Safety Council

Groundbreaking Partnership with Amazon to Solve Most Common Workplace Injury in the U.S.

NSC looks forward to preventing musculoskeletal disorders and helping all workplaces advance their safety journey.

June 21, 2021

By Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO, and John Dony, NSC senior director of thought leadership.

Appropriately timed during National Safety Month, the National Safety Council recently made history when we announced a five-year, $12 million partnership with Amazon — the largest corporate contribution in the Council’s 100 years as the nation’s leading nonprofit safety expert.

Partnership Overview

Through this first-of-its-kind partnership, we will focus on inventing new ways to prevent the largest category of workplace injuries in the U.S., musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). We will also recruit dedicated employers, including leaders in the sectors most impacted by MSD injuries. Ultimately, this will further our efforts to prevent workplace injuries.

Solving the Most Common Workplace Injury: Musculoskeletal Disorders

MSDs are an under-recognized, yet omnipresent safety challenge that affects nearly one-quarter of the world’s population. These injuries are complex in nature and result from a combination of exposures to repetitive movements, awkward or static postures, and forceful exertions. The subset of MSDs often referred to as repetitive-motion injuries are chronic injuries that result from exposures to risk factors over the course of weeks, months or years.

The U.S. private sector experienced 266,530 MSD injuries or illnesses involving days away from work in 2019. The retail, manufacturing and healthcare industries, as well as critical workforce sectors such as transportation and logistics, experience the largest rates of MSD injuries. Employers in these sectors will be invited to join the journey with us.

Just as coaches now limit pitchers in baseball from throwing too many pitches to reduce their risk for injury, so too can employers help prevent workplace MSDs by systemically measuring workers’ exposure to MSD risk factors and redesigning the workplace and tasks accordingly. Our groundbreaking partnership will aim to prevent MSDs across a variety of industries by engaging key stakeholders, conducting research, inventing new technology and processes, and scaling the results. 

Helping Workers Feel Better — On and Off the Clock 

MSDs don’t just represent challenges for the impacted workers. They affect workers’ families, loved ones and their communities. Once we move the needle on this safety challenge, workers everywhere will realize tangible benefits, like feeling better when they roll up their sleeves to help a friend move, scoop up their crying child or play a game of catch with a niece, nephew or grandchild.

NSC looks forward to preventing MSDs and helping all workplaces advance along their safety journey. By working with one of the nation’s largest employers, we’ll be able to solve problems that people face every day so they can live their fullest lives.

The MSD Pledge: Calling on Others to Join in

This collaboration will allow us to uncover and broadcast the most effective, impactful and practical MSD solutions available so other companies and industries around the world can prevent MSD injuries in their workplaces. Our efforts have the potential to reach tens of millions of workers directly and hundreds of millions more indirectly.

Not only will we call on dedicated employers to join us on this journey through the MSD Pledge, but companies large and small will be invited to have a seat at the table as we tackle this global challenge. As part of the pledge, we will ask companies to commit to prevent MSDs by:

  • Tracking proactive indicators of injuries
  • Implementing an MSD-prevention program
  • Embracing innovative solutions to reduce MSDs and drive progress forward

The Road Ahead

We know we have a tough challenge ahead of us to tackle this critical workplace issue. Overcoming a problem on the scale of MSDs requires the kind of bold new ideas this partnership represents. NSC has a proven track record of convening our unparalleled network of safety leaders to address workplace safety issues and create scalable safety programs. 

In other words: It takes all of us to make each other safer. NSC looks forward to working with our partners and employers around the world to prevent MSD injuries before they start.