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Certain cranking positions can spare truckers' shoulders

Certain cranking positions can help truck drivers in Illinois and elsewhere avoid shoulder injuries when raising and lowering trailers, according to a new study. The study was conducted by North Carolina State University and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

For the study, which was published in the journal Applied Ergonomics, researchers analyzed the muscle movements of 12 male truck drivers as they cranked trailers up and down. They focused on a group of 16 muscles that control shoulder movement. Following the completion of cranking operations, they measured the drivers' shoulder muscle activity and scapular range of motion.

The researchers determined that raising the trailer and lowering the trailer require two different positions for optimum shoulder protection. For raising operations, they concluded that standing parallel to the trailer while cranking is the safest position. This is because raising a trailer requires more full-body strength than lowering one. For lowering operations, they found that facing the trailer and cranking perpendicularly is the safest position. While this position tends to put more strain on shoulder ligaments, there is less resistance involved when lowering a trailer. Therefore, there is a lower risk of injury.

Truck drivers are susceptible to many types of repetitive motion injuries, including those involving the shoulders, wrists, ankles and neck. Drivers who suffer shoulder injuries and other types of repetitive motion injuries are eligible to file for workers' compensation benefits through their employer's insurance policy. Workers' comp benefits are designed to cover medical expenses and provide wage replacement payments while a driver recovers from his or her injuries. Some drivers find it helpful to seek the advice of an attorney before filing their claim. The attorney may review the case, explain all benefits available and help prepare the claim.

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