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How truck drivers may reduce shoulder injury

Some truck drivers in Connecticut may be in danger of shoulder injuries when they are raising or lifting trailers. However, researchers from North Carolina State University and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries have looked at driver technique and concluded that positioning may significantly reduce the likelihood of damage. The study appeared in the journal "Applied Ergonomics."

Researchers worked with 12 male truck drivers and measured the activity in 16 muscles as well as the range of scapular motion. There is greater resistance in raising a trailer, and researchers found that truckers are safest from injury while standing parallel to it. This is called sagittal cranking, and it takes some of the stress off the shoulder by using the trucker's full body strength.

Less resistance is involved in lowering a trailer. During this task, it is safer for drivers to face the trailer and turn the handle in a way that is perpendicular to the crank rotation.

Truck drivers are not alone among workers in their vulnerability to shoulder injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 700,000 shoulder injuries in 2016.

Shoulder injuries may happen because of an accident or as a result of overuse or misuse of the muscles over time. While most workers are supposed to be eligible for workers' compensation in case of injury on the job, there are sometimes obstacles in their path to claiming this compensation. Employers may not encourage the worker to apply for compensation or might even attempt to retaliate against the employee. The worker's claim might be rejected, which can be devastating since a worker may rely on worker's compensation while recovering from an injury. An attorney may be able to assist a worker in filing a claim for compensation and in following up with an appeal if necessary.

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