seat

By Jena Williams

Musculoskeletal disorders. Yuck! Who can even say it and more importantly, why should you care? Well sadly, if you are involved in the trucking industry then YOU need to care.

TIRES research* has shown that the majority of injuries and the most expensive injuries happen gradually to muscles, tendons and joints. These injuries are called musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs. You may be more familiar with people referring to them as a specific injury, like carpal tunnel syndrome (finger numbness) or rotator cuff injury (shoulder) or even tendonitis (multiple areas including the wrist and elbow.)  Preventing these common injuries to truck drivers is important exactly for the reason that they are preventable!  Learning to do things safely can prevent a lifetime of pain, not to mention the expense of an injury.

There are some things we know about preventing MSDs, like you can protect your knees from wearing out by using three points of contact instead of jumping from the cab. But there are a lot of things that may or may not contribute to MSDs that we are still trying to understand.

Researchers at the University of Washington are working on a study to determine if different types of seats might affect the likelihood of a driver developing an MSD. They are looking for companies that are willing to partner with them in the study. A small investment of your time could result in new seats for some of your drivers and a much better understanding of what does and does not contribute to MSDs in the trucking industry.

Are you interested in learning more?

Contact Pete Johnson at petej@u.washington.edu.

*Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES) Click for industry report.