Green Cross Quarterly
In the last few years, our workplaces have shifted and changed. Some people find themselves heading back into the office, while others plan to work permanently from home. As workplaces evolve, it’s important to keep safety in mind. The most common workplace injuries -- musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – can happen anywhere, from an at-home office to a warehouse.
As the world of work changes, we at the National Safety Council are working to prevent MSDs. Here, we’ll provide an overview of how we’re working to prevent MSDs and a preview of things to come.
MSDs – including rotator cuff tears, back strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome – affect one quarter of the world’s population. Risk factors include forceful exertions, awkward or static postures, and repetitive movements. MSDs most often impact low-wage workers and communities of color, and have a strong connection to mental health. They cost employers billions of dollars; in fact, every dollar spent on MSD prevention generates twice the return or more.
In June 2021, NSC partnered with Amazon to form the MSD Solutions Lab, an initiative that will conduct research, identify new technology and innovate solutions to preventing MSDs. An advisory council, made up of safety, health, ergonomics and innovation experts, formed in December 2021 and got started on the work of researching, solving, engaging in and amplifying MSD prevention efforts.
In the coming year, NSC will launch the following initiatives to help prevent MSDs before they start:
● The MSD Pledge: Through the MSD Pledge, companies small and large will be invited to have a seat at the table to help tackle this global challenge.
● Inaugural Hackathon Challenge: Individuals and organizations alike will have the opportunity to develop cutting-edge solutions to prevent and eliminate workplace-related MSDs. Prizes and grants will be awarded during this competition to honor innovation and help fund these solutions.
● Small Business and University Grants: Provide grants to small businesses, universities, and students that will fund research and innovation that help companies of all sizes achieve impact.
● MSD 2025 Pioneering Research: Conduct research utilizing next-generation artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning tools to explore current and future MSD innovations and trends. The research will be available to all industries to explore and glean insights, with an initial white paper debuting in the second half of 2022.
To learn more about the MSD Solutions Lab and NSC efforts to prevent MSDs, visit our website.
Join us Tuesday, Sept. 20, in San Diego for the Green Cross Celebration. This year we are taking the celebration to the deck of the USS Midway Museum, the longest serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century.
Come aboard and join us for an evening filled with delectable food, entertainment, an auction, awards presentation and an inspiring story from a survivor advocate impacted by one of the NSC core mission areas. We’ll also honor three safety champions with the Green Cross for Safety awards. This event is a fantastic opportunity to network with other safety professionals, entertain clients or just have a fun night out with friends and colleagues while in San Diego.
The Green Cross Celebration raises critical funds to support the National Safety Council mission to save lives and prevent injuries, from the workplace to anyplace, while celebrating the best and the brightest in safety.
The Campbell Institute, the global center of environment, health and safety (EHS) excellence at the National Safety Council, released a new white paper, Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention: Leading Indicators, Cumulative Risk and Safety Networks — the third in a series on this emerging safety trend. This report introduces two frameworks to support serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention efforts — cumulative risk assessment and social network analysis.
Interviews were conducted with nine Campbell Institute member organizations where interviewees shared details about leading indicators and SIF prevention approaches. The interviews included questions about data collection efforts and analysis strategies, leading indicators related to SIF prevention, leadership and employee engagement around SIF prevention, and challenges organizations have faced. This process identified foundational elements for a leading indicator program, a list of leading indicators for SIF prevention and how safety networks are critical to an expanded approach to risk assessment.
The research reveals SIF prevention is dependent on effectively identifying and controlling risk. As organizations mature along their safety journeys, risk assessments must also take a more sophisticated form. Single hazard risk assessments are appropriate for some situations, but others may involve interactions between two or more hazards. The hazards should be assessed together to accurately measure the risk and determine if the situation may result in a SIF.
Additionally, social network analysis is a long-standing, empirically founded framework referenced among EHS professionals but has not been formally identified. However, elements from social network analysis can be used to measure and analyze leading indicators for SIF prevention through the development of cumulative risk assessment modeling. The advantage of a network approach is that it considers how people interact with each other rather than only how they interact with the EHS management system.
This month, the Work to Zero initiative released a new white paper: Making the Business Case for Safety Innovation. The report builds on the initiative’s initial 2020 research and outlines how employers can calculate and leverage the life-saving and cost-saving benefits of safety technology in the workplace.
The white paper examines the benefits of eight key technologies, ranging from solutions for fatigue monitoring to autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for material handling to sensor technology for proximity detection and collision avoidance. This report illustrates the return on investment using safety technology to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities across a spectrum of industries and businesses. Along with the paper, NSC released the Work to Zero investment calculator, which allows companies to explore the value of each of these key technologies in saving lives and saving money.
Work to Zero found businesses that invest in safety innovation not only stand to quickly recoup their initial investments, but also experience greater efficiencies in production and quality due to the prevention of serious injuries and fatalities. Organizations in higher-risk industries can expect short payback periods. For example, analysis shows a large construction company can experience year-over-year returns totaling nearly $1.8 million in the fifth year following sensor technology implementation. These savings are a result of reducing missed workdays, medical costs and wage losses, among several other factors.
Funded by the McElhattan Foundation, Work to Zero aims to eliminate workplace fatalities by 2050. In addition to helping make safety innovation more accessible to employers, the initiative recently partnered with Safetytech Accelerator on a pilot program to mitigate risks around working at height.
Tom Goeltz is no stranger to safety. In fact, he has been a safety professional and advocate his whole life.
But nothing could have prepared him for the unimaginable. In February 2016, Tom's daughter Megan was waiting in her car at a stop sign when a car traveling at a high rate of speed crossed over two lanes of traffic, into a ditch and into Megan's car. Tom's daughter and her unborn child lost their lives in this horrific crash. Her family's lives will never be the same. Tom is currently helping to raise his daughter's oldest child.
Through his work as a victim’s advocate, Tom and his wife Wendy celebrated the passage of a hands-free law in Minnesota in 2019. They continue their advocacy work hoping for tougher laws and regulations on distracted driving, not only in their home state, but nationwide.
Tom also actively speaks to professionals and students about the dangers of distracted driving, in the hope of saving lives. To learn more about Tom’s story, watch this video.
Eight people die every day in crashes related to distracted driving. At NSC, we work to educate people around distracted driving and advocate for policies and technologies that prevent it. Take some time in these last few days of April -- Distracted Driving Awareness Month – to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving and access resources to help keep our roadways safe.
Learn more about how you can join our mission and get involved today.
Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a global charity that protects people and property in the transportation industry, is an important and dedicated partner to NSC. Lloyd’s, which traces its history back to the 1760s, upholds the NSC mission by supporting NSC research and analysis into the value of safety in mental health, wellbeing and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).
With Lloyd’s funding, NSC will consult stakeholders, conduct a literature review, and analyze existing frameworks and data in order to enhance our understanding of the value and valuation of safety in these emerging issues. This research will expand on previous research by Delfts University.
As part of this work, NSC will identify gaps, best practices and trends, and create an actionable framework for businesses. This framework will include establishing common terminology, disseminating resources and tools to help stakeholders employ the findings, and a set of recommendations. An expert group of stakeholders from throughout the public and private sectors will come help develop and test the framework and recommendations, and eventually help disseminate the findings.
Through its support of this NSC initiative, Lloyd’s Register Foundation is helping make workplaces safer from incidents, injuries and fatalities.
NSC is seeking additional funders to support this work. Please contact NSC Director of Development Vicki Verboom at [email protected] if you are interested in contributing.
Safety is real. Safety is about life’s irreplaceable moments. Safety is personal.
When you go beyond the risks and the steps it takes to avoid them, you feel the result: You can be healthy and unharmed at work, get home safe to be with those you love, have your co-workers stay safe at work without being impaired, addicted, injured or worse. This is our mission.
Like other leading nonprofits, we position ourselves around a cause everyone can connect with and a pursuit everyone can be passionate about. It’s because we know who is at stake — employees, their families and everyone in their communities — that NSC as a partner, a nonprofit and a national resource, is so devoted to saving lives, from the workplace to anyplace.
Join us today to make a difference. Support NSC.