How truck drivers may prevent shoulder injuries

More than 70,000 workers each year suffer a shoulder injury, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of those victims may be hardworking New Jersey truck drivers. Landing gear cranking, a common task for truckers, can lead to shoulder ailments. However, research published Oct. 3 in the journal Applied Ergonomics offers cranking techniques that could help truckers stay injury-free while lifting and lowering trailers.

In the study, researchers from Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and North Carolina State University observed the techniques of 12 male truckers while raising and lowering trailers. Researchers measured activity in 16 muscles involved in shoulder movement. They also checked the scapular range of motion for the drivers.

The study found that the ideal technique differed according to the amount of resistance the trucker was working with. For raising a trailer, which involves more resistance, truckers were less likely to injure themselves if they stood parallel to the trailer since this allowed them to use their full body strength instead of putting too much strain on the shoulder. Conversely, lowering the trailer, which takes less resistance, tended to be a less injury-prone activity if drivers stood in a perpendicular position to the crank rotation. This reduces the strain on a driver’s ligaments.

Workers’ compensation provides benefits to employees who have been injured on the job. These payments can be critical while a worker is recovering. While virtually all New Jersey full-time employees are covered, this does not mean that every claim will be approved. Not all workers realize that they are eligible, and some employers may try to discourage their employers from filing for compensation. That’s why an injured worker might want to consult an attorney about filing a claim or following up on a rejection with an appeal.

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