Inside Logistics

Amazon supporting injury prevention research

Partnership with National Safety Council will invent new ways to prevent musculoskeletal disorders


June 10, 2021
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Amazon and the U.S.-based National Safety Council (NSC) have begun a five-year partnership to prevent the largest category of workplace injuries in the U.S., musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

The partnership will aim to prevent MSDs across a variety of industries by engaging key stakeholders, conducting research, inventing new technology and processes, and scaling the results. The collaboration is made possible by a US$12 million contribution from Amazon, the largest corporate contribution in the history of NSC.

“Through this partnership we’ll be able to solve problems that people face every day so they can live their fullest lives,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of National Safety Council.

“Going to work should be a positive, rewarding, and safe experience. We are grateful for the generous support of Amazon to help companies around the world solve this important issue while fueling our nonprofit mission to keep employees safe in the workplace.”

The partnership will have five main components.

An international advisory council will bring together safety experts, corporations, and researchers in public and private sectors. It will work to review the most promising approaches to MSD prevention, shape the development of partnership components, and engage external parties on MSD prevention.

It will Conduct research utilizing next-generation artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning tools to explore current and future MSD innovations and trends. The research will be available to all industries to explore and glean insights.

It will provide grants to small businesses, universities, and university students. These grants will fund research and innovation that help companies of all sizes achieve impact.

The partnership will also 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 and employers about injury prevention.
  • Embrace and drive forward innovative solutions to prevent MSDs and share best practices with other organizations worldwide.

In its first year the partnership will focus on launching the advisory council, identifying research partners, analyzing existing data, and developing the grant and Innovation Challenge programs.

“This partnership will allow us to dive deep into the best way to reduce MSDs,” said Heather MacDougall, Amazon’s vice-president of worldwide workplace health and safety.

“National Safety Council has a long history of advancing safe practices in the workplace, and we look forward to working alongside them as well as many other businesses, experts, and students around the world to innovate and solve for this important issue.”

Amazon is spending over $300 million on safety projects in 2021, and has a goal to cut its recordable incident rate by 50% by 2025.