Health and Wellness, Personnel Safety

100 Employers Join Safety Council’s Ergonomics Pledge

The National Safety Council (NSC) announced that 100 organizations have made commitments to address workplace musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Employers agreed to an MSD Pledge, launched in June by the NSC and Amazon.com Inc. The council’s MSD Solutions Lab developed the MSD Pledge to address what the NSC characterized as the most common workplace injury. Employers committing to the MSD Pledge agree to take steps to address ergonomic injuries, including:

  • Analyzing the causes of MSD injuries and investing in solutions and practices that reduce risks to workers;
  • Leveraging innovations and sharing lessons learned that improve safety practices;
  • Building a culture of safety in which everyone, at every level, is accountable for the safety and health of workers; and
  • Collectively reducing MSD risks and resulting injuries by 25 percent across the pledged community by 2025.

“While the business impact of MSDs is undeniable–amounting to billions of dollars every year in lost wages, compensation, and productivity costs–the human toll of these injuries is even more significant,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin said in a statement.

“NSC has a longstanding record of convening diverse networks to tackle the most pressing safety challenges, and the MSD Pledge, now supported by leaders from nearly every sector and industry, is the latest example of this,” Martin added.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with so many companies to address this important issue,” Heather MacDougall, vice president of Worldwide Workplace Health and Safety at Amazon, noted.

“At Amazon, we are focused on continuous improvement, and we know we can learn from all the other organizations that have signed this pledge,” MacDougall continued.

Employers such as Boeing, Cummins, John Deere, Lidl, Tenneco, and United Airlines have joined Amazon in the MSD Pledge.

In addition to the MSD Pledge, the council’s MSD Solutions Lab has launched several other initiatives this year, including:

  • An Advisory Council of experts in safety, health, ergonomics, and innovation to support and inform the program’s work by engaging in, researching, solving, and amplifying MSD prevention efforts;
  • Comprehensive research efforts to explore current and future MSD prevention-related strategies available to all industries, with the lab’s first white paper to be released shortly;
  • An inaugural Safety Innovation Challenge at the NSC’s 2022 Safety Congress & Expo, where cutting-edge technology solutions focused on risk prevention and elimination of workplace MSDs will be showcased; and
  • Grants to small businesses, students, and universities to fund research and innovation to help companies of all sizes achieve an impact on MSDs.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established a never-enforced ergonomics standard in the waning months of the Clinton administration. The ergonomics standard was rescinded by Congress in 2001 before it could take effect. When OSHA finds workplace MSDs or ergonomic risks, it cites employers under the General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)(1)) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

On August 3, OSHA’s Region 3 launched a warehouse regional emphasis program (REP) of outreach, inspection, and enforcement in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia focused on ergonomic risks, as well as forklift and heat hazards.