The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were more than 70,000 on-the-job shoulder injuries in 2016. Truck drivers in Pennsylvania may be especially vulnerable to shoulder injury when lowering or raising their trailers, a task known as cranking. A study published by the journal Applied Ergonomics on Oct. 3 examined the technique of 12 male drivers to determine the ideal cranking position for avoiding injury.

The study was conducted by researchers from North Carolina State University and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. Researchers focused on 16 muscles involved in the act of cranking landing gear. They measured muscle activity while cranking as well as the scapular range of motion of all the drivers.

Resistance is involved when raising a trailer. Researchers found that standing parallel to a trailer while raising it was safer because it reduced the amount of work the shoulder has to do and allowed the involvement of more full-body strength. This is called sagittal cranking. In contrast, since less resistance is involved in lowering the trailer, truckers should move the handle perpendicular to the crank rotation. This uses more shoulder rotations. Researchers reported that other methods produced more stress on the ligaments.

The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide support for hurt employees and their families. While this is supposed to be available to most full-time workers, there can be obstacles to obtaining the benefits. An injured worker may want to contact an attorney to discuss eligibility and how to file a claim. In some cases, an employer may be resistant to an employee claiming workers’ compensation. In other cases, the claim may be denied. If this happens, an employee has the right to an appeal, and an attorney may be able to assist with this as well.