Truck drivers in North Carolina could be at serious risk for shoulder injuries on the job. When truck drivers raise or lower trailers to load or unload goods, they could injure their shoulders by cranking the truck's landing gear. However, one study conducted by North Carolina State University and the Washington Department of Labor and Industry notes that drivers can help to protect themselves by strategically positioning their bodies when cranking the gears.
The researchers observed drivers as they cranked the gears for loading or unloading the truck. There are 16 muscles involved in the process that can affect shoulder use and movement. The researchers measured the drivers' range of motion and the activity of their muscles during the process. According to the study, standing parallel to a trailer while raising it can be safer for truckers. This allows the process to use more of the strength of the full body, relying less on the shoulder. Raising a trailer involves greater resistance and strain on the body, potentially leading to workplace injuries.
Lowering a trailer requires less resistance. Drivers here can be safer by facing the trailer while cranking the handle at a perpendicular angle, the researchers said. Truck drivers often experience pressure, rubbing and grinding on shoulder ligaments during this process. This can lead to repetitive stress injuries and other types of damage. In 2016 alone, workers suffered 70,000 shoulder injuries on the job.
Truck drivers' risk of injury can be much greater if their employers fail to follow workplace safety regulations or provide them with dangerous or harmful equipment. When truckers and others are hurt at work, they may face mounting medical bills or be too injured to return to the job. A workers' compensation lawyer may help injured workers to protect their rights and pursue compensation for their damages.