National Safety Council MSD Solutions Lab and Safetytech Accelerator to showcase technologies to prevent upper body stress MSDs in Industry23/08/2023
Building on a shared commitment to advance workplace safety through proven technology, the National Safety Council has once again teamed with Safetytech Accelerator to bring back the popular Safety Innovation Challenge for a second year in a row.
Hosted by the Council’s MSD Solutions Lab, the challenge represents an important step forward in its mission to prevent workplace musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, by inviting leading technology firms from around the globe to showcase their cutting-edge safety solutions.
Following a successful first challenge at the 2022 NSC Safety Congress & Expo that focused on solutions to reducing MSDs related to employees moving objects, this year’s Safety Innovation Challenge will focus on identifying solutions to mitigate upper body stress MSDs in an industrial context. Upper extremity MSDs, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff tears, tennis elbow and hand-arm vibration (HAV) syndrome account for 31% of all work-related MSDs, according to NSC Injury Facts. These injuries can result in aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers, leading to worker disability and negatively influencing quality of life and work productivity.
“Safety progress requires equal parts innovation and collaboration, and by creating new channels for leading-edge solutions to reach employers, we stand better positioned to create safer outcomes for workers worldwide,” said Sarah Ischer, senior program manager at MSD Solutions Lab and EHS manager at NSC. “This is a defining feature of the Safety Innovation Challenge, and we are honoured to expand our work with industry leaders like Safetytech Accelerator to inspire both innovations and solutions to push the boundaries of MSD technology in the workplace.”
Safetytech Accelerator collaborated with NSC and a number of large US employers to select the challenge, shape the requirements and scout 50 technology companies with upper-extremity focused MSD solutions – ranging from vision analytics and collaborative robots to exoskeletons and digital twins, and more. Together with NSC, six finalists were selected to present their innovations at the NSC Safety Congress & Expo in New Orleans in October 2023. Like last year’s inaugural challenge, these finalists will have the opportunity for their leading solutions to be piloted by some of the nation’s top employers following the event.
“We are delighted with the range and quality of solutions that entrepreneurs all around the world are developing to help prevent upper body MSDs,” said Nadia Echchihab, Head of Innovation Programmes at Safetytech Accelerator. “The selection of the six candidates was challenging because the competition was fierce. We’re confident that companies we’ve selected represent some of the best examples of technology-enabled MSD prevention out there.”
This year’s safety innovation challenge participants included the following technology companies:
Bioservo: Bioservo Technologies offers an active soft exoskeleton, IronHand, that strengthens the human grip, allowing industry workers to use less force when performing repetitive and static tasks. This may reduce worker fatigue, prevents MSDs, and support age-related decline in grip strength. Ironhand collects data to enable digital risk assessments using validated models HAL-TLV and DUET.
Feraru Dynamics: The HAV-Sentry prevents HAVS and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The glove measures vibration absorbed in the hand, palm orientation and grip force, alerting the user in real time to prevent injuries. The HAV-Sentry system identifies the root cause of exposure and helps businesses establish control measures through data.
Hilti: Hilti developed a passive exoskeleton to help relieve shoulders and arm strain during overhead installation work. The exoskeleton relieves strain by providing dynamic support without restricting the range of motion of arm and torso and is engineered to provide support for overhead installation work on construction jobsites.
Lifebooster: LifeBooster empowers health and safety teams to conduct risk assessments from anywhere in the world. The data analysis platform and multi-point sensor system provides risk severity insights for upper body MSDs, HAV and heat stress exposures. By utilizing the company’s data-driven insights, companies can decrease workplace safety risk.
Reactec: Reactec helps companies prevent health and safety risks using a powerful combination of workplace wearable technology and cloud-based analytics. Reactec’s third-generation wearable, the R-Link smart watch, protects the wearer from exposure to hand-arm vibration and dangerous proximity to moving vehicles.
3MotionAI: 3motionAI leverages cutting-edge AI to analyze videos of workers in motion to extract crucial data on performance and injury risk. The company’s proprietary 3DNeuroNet Engine enhances performance across domains and its extensive library caters to various activities.
The MSD Solutions Lab is a groundbreaking strategic initiative launched in 2021 with funding from Amazon to solve the most common workplace injury. The Safety Innovation Challenge is one of the lab’s hallmark initiatives aimed at preventing MSDs before they start. To learn more about these efforts, visit nsc.org/msd.
To learn more about this year’s Safety Innovation Challenge finalists or to register for the NSC Safety Congress and Expo in New Orleans, visit www.congress.nsc.org/.
About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for nearly 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, established in 2018 by Lloyd’s Register, is the first fully dedicated technology accelerator focused on advancing innovation in safety critical industries. Our mission is to make the world safer and more sustainable through wider adoption of technology.