NSC Releases New Report on MSD Prevention in the Workplace

NSC Releases New Report on MSD Prevention in the Workplace

The organization’s first-ever report sheds light on areas of improvement.

With musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the workplace a continuing concern, the National Safety Council (NSC) has released its first-ever MSD Solutions Index Pledge Community Report, focusing on both achievements and areas of improvement related to MSD prevention.

According to an NSC release, the report—which is based on a survey of more than 50 companies—stems from the NSC's annual benchmarking survey, the MSD Solutions Index. It provides feedback to organizations on their MSD reduction efforts, identifies industry trends and holds them accountable to their commitment to innovation, collaboration and a safer culture.

“What gets measured gets managed, which is why collecting workplace data is critical to helping organizations mitigate MSDs,” Paul Vincent, executive vice president of workplace practice at NSC, said in a statement. “Through the MSD Solutions Index, not only does it provide direct, tangible takeaways for each pledging organization, but it offers key insights that can be applied across industries to improve MSD prevention. Addressing the most common workplace injury on a global scale has never been done before, and initiatives like this help our entire safety community be better positioned to create safer outcomes for millions of workers worldwide.”

Regarding the report’s key findings, no organization achieved a perfect score, though 85 percent of responding companies fell into the advancing or proactive categories of MSD prevention maturity. Fifty-four percent rated their workplace's ability to prevent MSDs as either very good or excellent. And 85 percent acknowledge psychosocial factors contribute to workplace MSDs. Eighty percent of responding organizations use technology to prevent MSDs in the workplace.

The NSC report also identifies several key areas for improvement, such as tracking MSDs, quantifying psychosocial risks, monitoring physical risk factors, sharing best practices and understanding workforce needs. Recommended steps include engaging senior leadership, regularly collecting employee feedback and ensuring equitable MSD solutions. Overall, larger companies have more established safety programs and perform better in mitigating MSD risks.

The NSC's report suggests that while there are successes in managing MSDs, such as involving frontline workers in decision-making and using technology, there is room for growth in areas like tracking and quantifying risks and understanding unique workforce needs. For impactful MSD programs, organizations are urged to engage leadership, collect employee feedback, identify risks with frontline worker involvement, and ensure equitable solutions.

The MSD Solutions Index is part of NSC's broader initiative to prevent MSDs. The NSC, with Amazon's backing, established the MSD Solutions Lab in 2021 and launched the MSD Pledge in June 2022. The pledge, now a global initiative with the recent introduction of MSD Pledge 2.0, remains committed to contributing to the fight to reduce the impact of MSDs in workplaces.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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