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Amazon and the National Safety Council have created a five-year, $12 million partnership to find innovative solutions to prevent the most common workplace injury: musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

MSDs are an under-recognized yet omnipresent safety challenge that affect nearly one-quarter of the world’s population. In the U.S., businesses experienced more than 265,000 MSD injuries involving days away from work in 2019.

MSDs are complex and result from a combination of forceful exertion, repetitive movement and awkward or static posture. The subset of MSDs often referred to as repetitive motion injuries are chronic and result from exposures to risk factors over the course of weeks, months or years. The goal of the partnership is to take a proactive approach to prevent these injuries before they ever occur.

Built on the principles of data and innovation, the partnership will aim to prevent MSDs by engaging key stakeholders, conducting research, inventing new technology and processes, and scaling the results. Amazon’s $12 million contribution is the largest corporate contribution in the Council’s history. The partnership will include five key components:

Advisory Council: Establish an international advisory council of experts, corporations, researchers, practitioners and innovators in the public and private sectors. The advisory council will work together to review the most promising approaches to MSD prevention, shape development of the partnership components and engage external parties on MSD prevention.

Innovative Research: Conduct research utilizing next-generation artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning tools to explore current and future MSD innovation and trends. This research will live in an open-source platform for all industries to explore and glean insights.

Small Business and University Grants: Provide grants for small- to medium-sized businesses, universities and university students. These grants will fund research and innovation that help companies of all sizes achieve impact.

Innovation Challenges: Incubate and foster innovative and practical solutions to address MSDs through Innovation Challenge competitions. These competitions will bring together experts to collaborate, iterate and share techniques and ideas.

Industry Call to Action – The MSD Pledge: Amazon and NSC will share solutions discovered throughout the partnership to inspire change through the creation of The MSD Pledge and a call on other companies to also join the effort to:

– – Track proactive indicators of injuries to ensure proper risk mitigation, and implement prevention strategies based on data.
– – Implement an MSD prevention program that includes educating employees about injury prevention.
– – Embrace and drive forward innovative solutions to reduce MSDs and share best practices with other organizations worldwide.

For further updates on this initiative, you may sign up on the National Safety Council website.