In recognition of National Ergonomics Month, the National Safety Council’s (NSC) MSD Solutions Lab held its first-ever MSD Pledge: Small Business Summit to help employers of all sizes prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).
The MSD Solutions Lab is supported by corporate contributions from Amazon.com Inc. The MSD Solutions Lab’s initiatives include an employer MSD Pledge and an MSD Index, which gauges an employer’s risk-reduction strategies and workplace safety culture.
“Every employee deserves to work in an environment where MSD risks are evaluated and minimized, yet feedback we have received shows financial constraints are the most common barrier organizations across low-margin industries face to investing in safety technology,” MSD Solutions Lab Director Corinne Towler said in an NSC statement.
MSDs, often known as ergonomics injuries, include illnesses and injuries like tendinitis, back strains, and sprains, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the NSC. MSDs are the leading cause of worker disability, involuntary retirement, and limitations to employment.
The MSD Pledge: Small Business Summit addressed the unique challenges that MSDs pose to small businesses and offered entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn more about creative, attainable MSD solutions.
“Our mission is to help every employer, whether they are a multinational corporation or a family-owned business, create safer outcomes for their workers, and the inaugural Small Business Summit ensures everyone in our safety community has a seat at the table in advancing scalable MSD solutions,” Towler said.
During the summit, the NSC and its MSD Solutions Lab released a Small Business Guide for MSDs, a manual offering “turnkey” MSD solutions to help small business owners save time and money while keeping their workers safe.
The guide offers direction for small businesses on the following:
- Laying a strong foundation to create a culture of safety;
- Constructing an MSD solutions program, including ergonomics solutions to prevent MSDs, a medical management system to support workers with MSDs, and promoting team and worker resilience and well-being; and
- Innovation and collaboration as part of the MSD Pledge community.
Resilience and well-being strategies include leading team exercises and stretching to enhance worker strength, limiting work hours to reduce fatigue and reducing workloads to reduce worker stress, offering water and nutritious snacks to promote worker nutrition, providing rest breaks to promote recovery, and supporting worker autonomy to improve perceived job control. The guide also directed small business owners to tools developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as part of its Total Worker Health program.
The MSD Solutions Lab’s other initiatives include the following:
- An advisory council of experts in safety, health, ergonomics, and innovation who support and inform the program’s work by researching and promoting MSD prevention efforts;
- Research efforts into current and future MSD prevention-related strategies, including the recently released white paper Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Systematic Review of Current Interventions and Future Research Directions; and
- Grants to small businesses, students, and universities funding research and innovation that help companies of all sizes address ergonomics challenges.
The NSC is a not-for-profit organization focused on preventing deaths in the home, in the workplace, and on the roadways.