The National Safety Council (NSC) has released a white paper highlighting the crucial role of technology in reducing workplace musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Waste360 Staff, Staff

October 5, 2023

2 Min Read
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The National Safety Council (NSC) has released a white paper highlighting the crucial role of technology in reducing workplace musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

"Emerging Technologies for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders" aims to guide employers through the dynamic landscape of technological solutions designed to mitigate MSD risks.

 "Advancements in technology and automation have decreased workplace hazards to an extent undreamt of only a few years ago, but these rapid changes and a lack of clear standards for MSD-focused innovations can create uncertainty among organizations looking to adopt these tools," said Sarah Ischer, MSD Solutions Lab program lead at NSC.

The MSD Solutions Lab, established in 2021 with funding support form Amazon, partnered with the Safetytech Accelerator to develop the report. Drawing from nearly two dozen academic publications, the white paper assesses the efficacy of various emerging safety technologies, including computer vision, wearable sensors, exoskeletons, autonomous materials handling equipment, digital twins and extended reality. Additionally, industry leaders were interviewed to gain insights into sector-specific MSD concerns and successful applications of emerging technology.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Computer vision is valuable for large organizations, aiding in the aggregation and analysis of ergonomic risks across an enterprise.

  • Wearable sensors offer real-time haptic feedback, reducing back injuries caused by poor posture, over-reaching, and improper lifting.

  • Passive exoskeletons have demonstrated a reduction in muscle activity by up to 40% and significantly decreased worker fatigue while boosting productivity.

  • The transition to Industry 5.0, characterized by increased automation, calls for a greater focus on harmonizing human ingenuity and automation in the workplace.

MSDs, such as tendinitis, back strains, sprains, and carpal tunnel syndrome, are the primary cause of worker disability, involuntary retirement, and limitations to gainful employment. The white paper is part of a broader initiative by the MSD Solutions Lab to address this widespread safety concern, including an advisory council, additional research, innovation challenges, and a grant program.

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