There is a funding opportunity on the horizon for companies or organizations interested in the testing and implementation of novel solutions to combat common workplace injuries related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The MSD Solutions Lab is launching its first Pilot Grant program (MSDs Pilot Grant 1.0) with $60,000 in total funding.
What is the MSD Solutions Lab?
The National Safety Council is a non-profit organization originally founded in 1913 with a mission to improve worker safety. The organization strives to eliminate MSDs through research, workplace training, providing tools and resources, consulting, and establishing a professional network. In June 2021, the National Safety Council and Amazon jointly formed the MSD Solutions Lab. See the YouTube video highlighting recent efforts of the lab (link to YouTube):
The MSD Solutions Lab has already started two initiatives: an MSD Pledge and an innovations challenge for new technologies that can reduce the risk to workers.
Who Should Apply?
The MSD Solutions Pilot Grant 1.0 is open to any organization interested in preventing MSDs in the workplace due to manual material handling. The only requirements are that the grant recipient organization must take the MSD Pledge, and be willing to work with one or more of the six winners of the innovation challenge.
The solution provider (listed in the following section), will be responsible for forming an implementation strategy for the grantee staff, and pilot the solution for at least six months while tracking relevant metrics and documenting best practices during the collaboration efforts. The grant funds will be split between the grantee and the technology/solution provider for administrative expenses such as transportation, training, equipment, and essential travel.
The MSD Solutions lab will then distribute the results and identified collaboration challenges in the form of a case study. At a minimum, results will be presented at the 2024 NSC Safety Congress & Expo.
What are the six technologies to choose from?
- Effidence: A collaborative handling robot that behaves like a true logistics assistant and follows a picking operator, thus eliminating pushing or pulling
- Extend Robotic: A human-robot interface software for a non-robotic expert to tele-operate and program robotic manipulators remotely for physical tasks
- HeroWear: A back-assist lightweight exosuit designed to reduce muscle fatigue that accommodates bodies of all shapes and sizes and fits like a comfortable piece of clothing
- Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR): For transportation of pallets and heavy goods, for example, warehouse logistics automation, and can also be hooked for custom and existing carts
- TuMeke Ergonomics: A computer vision joint tracking system for ergonomic assessments
- WearKinetic: A belt-mounted wearable sensor automatically recognizing awkward postures commonly performed on the job, such as bending, overreaching and twisting
Grant proposals are due May 19, 2023. The proposal application can be found here. The MSD Solutions Lab lists firstname.lastname@example.org as a contact e-mail for more information, including pilot grant eligibility and application requirements.
- MSD Solutions Pilot Grant 1.0, Scaling Provider-specific MSD Reduction Strategies, Last accessed on April 10, 2023, National Safety Council, website link.
- The MSD Solutions Lab will award up to $225,000 in total for its inaugural R2S Grant Program in 2023. Find out more here: Research to Solutions Grant Program (R2S), Request for Applications, Last accessed on April 10, 2023, National Safety Council, website, link
Special thanks to the HeroWear team for sharing this opportunity through LinkedIn: link. Featured image (top), Folders with the label Applications and Grants by Zerbor from Getty Images.