Safetytech Accelerator together with NSC Hosts Second Annual Safety Innovation Challenge27/10/2023
Safetytech Accelerator Partners with NSC in Selecting Innovative Safety Solutions to address upper body MSDs.
NEW ORLEANS – Safetytech Accelerator collaborated with the National Safety Council (NSC) in selecting the six companies that participated in this year’s Safety Innovation Challenge at the NSC’s Safety congress and Expo 2023 hold in New Orleans.
The challenge builds on the tremendous progress made by the Council’s MSD Solutions Lab, a ground breaking program established in 2021 with funding from Amazon to help organizations of all sizes prevent musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. Since its inception, Safetytech Accelerator has been working closely with the MSD Solutions Lab to identify workplace challenges and discover innovative technological solutions for addressing them.
“MSDs aren’t isolated to high-risk industries. They’re complex, multi-faceted injuries that can occur on any job, which is why increasing awareness of potential hazards, and how these can be addressed using next-generation technology, is a key pillar of the MSD Solutions Lab to promote safer outcomes for all,” said Paul Vincent, executive vice president of workplace practice at NSC. “The Safety Innovation Challenge represents an important step forward in this effort and one we are proud to advance by connecting employers with proven, scalable solutions aimed at mitigating the top sources of MSD injuries.”
According to the World Health Organization, MSDs are the most common workplace injury and represent the leading cause of worker disability, involuntary retirement and limitations to gainful employment. But MSDs are preventable!
This is our second year hosting the challenge. In 2022, the Safetytech Accelerator team brought companies to San Diego to tackle musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by pushing, pulling, or lifting objects.
This year, our focus was on upper body MSDs, which make up 31% of all cases. We teamed up with the National Safety Council (NSC) once again to choose the challenge, outline the requirements, and scout more than 50 companies specializing in upper extremity solutions for MSDs. These solutions range from vision analytics and collaborative robots to exoskeletons and digital twins, among others. After a thorough search, we identified six outstanding innovators who have been invited to attend the congress.
The 2023 semi-finalists include:
3MotionAI: Founded in 2008, the Canada-based company uses motion-sensing software to help organizations chart worker movements and develop customized recommendations and exercises to mitigate their MSD risk. The company’s biomechanics assessment may be conducted through a mobile device, allowing employers to forego costly ergonomic consultations traditionally conducted in laboratory settings.
Bioservo: The company’s IronHand glove is an exoskeleton specifically designed to reduce MSD hand injuries by enabling workers to use less grip force when performing repetitive tasks. The technology works in tandem with Bioservo’s AI-enabled platform to adapt the glove’s configurations based on the operator’s unique needs and preferences, including joint locking tendencies, sensitivity and external forces. The company is also one of the first to offer its motor-powered technology in women’s sizes.
Feraru Dynamics: The company’s patented technology mitigates Hand-Arm-Vibration Syndrome, or HAVS, using a pre-assembled sensing and control unit to provide real-time haptics to wearers. Feraru also provides employers with an HAV-Sentry Dashboard, a secure, cloud-based platform designed to help managers visualize data, monitor grip strength and exposure trends, and compile assessment reports.
Hilti: The Hilti EXO-S Exoskeleton builds on the company’s nearly three decades of experience developing innovative safety technologies in the construction industry to address one of the most common limitations workers across a range of sectors cite with traditional exosuits: wearer comfort. In addition to being the lightest exosuit on the market, the Hilti EXO-S’ passive, motor-free design provides employees with dynamic support to alleviate shoulder and arm strain during overhead work.
LifeBooster: The Canada-based company integrates Internet-of-Things technology into straps and pocketed shirts, which are designed to be worn as a comfortable, breathable base layer, or clipped onto workers’ existing work attire. In addition to seamlessly aggregating data on worker posture, muscle strain, upper-body movements, and environmental factors affecting MSD risk, such as relative humidity, LifeBooster’s technology helps employers quantify the impacts of safety interventions on workers’ wellbeing and organizations’ bottom line.
Reactec: Based in the United Kingdom, the company’s R-Link smart watch protects workers from HAV exposure by alerting the wearer when their personalized exposure thresholds have been exceeded. The watch’s unique haptic system was also thoughtfully adapted to notify workers with vision and hearing impairments.
“Last year’s inaugural challenge focused specifically on uncovering solutions to MSDs caused by manual material handling, and the positive feedback we received from the safety community following the event was overwhelming,” said Nadia Echchihab, Head of Innovation programs, Safetytech Accelerator. “However, injury prevention is not a one-size-fits-all approach. This year’s finalists, who represent among the best in safety innovation, understand the nuances that today’s employers face in minimizing MSD risk, while delivering cutting-edge products that are both impactful and practical for modern workplaces.”
At the 2023 NSC Safety Congress & Expo, the six finalists showcased their innovations at NSC’s safetytech Pavilion. They had the valuable opportunity to demonstrate their solutions on stage, connect with potential clients, and engage with prominent figures, including representatives from companies like Amazon and Boeing. Throughout the congress, attendees had the chance to cast their votes for the most innovative company whose solutions they were most likely to implement in their own organizations. The winning companies were subsequently invited to present their demos during the main stage at the closing keynote session. With an impressive participation of over 1000 votes, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Bioservo, Feraru Dynamics, and 3Motion AI, all of whom had the honor of showcasing their innovations on the main stage.
“We have been impressed with this show and what the NSC put together. We are excited by how the NSC engages potential clients and we have been blown away by the exposure and the experience”. – Colin McKinnon, CIO, 3motionAI
“This was a great experience and we had strong support from the NSC and Safetytech Accelerator. We had a unique chance to speak to executive and directors from construction and manufacturing sector and we look forward to being involved in other events going forward.”- Andrei Feraru, Founder, Feraru Dynamics
We look forward to witnessing these companies deploying their solutions in workplaces, contributing to the safety and well-being of individuals.
Innovation and collaboration are at the core of progress in safety technology, The Safety Innovation Challenge is one of several initiatives led by the National Safety Council to achieve its goal of preventing MSDs before they start.
About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for more than 110 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.
About Safetytech Accelerator
Safetytech Accelerator is the first fully dedicated technology accelerator focused on advancing innovation in safety-critical industries. Our mission is to make the world safer, more resilient and sustainable through wider adoption of technology.