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Majority of HGV drivers suffer back, neck and shoulder injuries, study reveals

By Kyle Lindsay
Friday, February 21, 2014 - 12:00

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PAIN: Do you suffer driving injury?

Back, neck and shoulder pain is plaguing more than half of truck drivers across Europe, new research has revealed.

The study, by Volvo Trucks, claims that the manufacturer’s new Dynamic Steering reduces injury risk, by making control possible with ‘minimal effort’.

Dynamic Steering reduces steering wheel movements by more than 75%, impacting less on muscles and joints in the long-term by relieving driver pressure.

Injury is most common in male truckers driving long-haul, with a 2011 study by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work also damning.

Researchers found 54% of women and 37% of men in the transport sector have muscular and skeletal problems – suggesting the issue is getting even worse.

Peter Bark, of the Transport Research Institute, said: “Tightening muscles in the arms and neck, together with repetitive movements put a large strain on certain muscle groups.

“Gripping the wheel hard when steering leads to even greater tension, I would expect.

“Larger muscles like biceps are not as sensitive, but when tensing the forearm and certain muscles that connect to the fingers and hands, there is a risk of feeling fatigued.

“Tensing the shoulders also leads to fatigue which can then spread to the back of the neck.”

It has also been discovered that the higher the load of the truck, the greater risk of injury.

Jonas Nordquist, Product Features and Profitability Manager at Volvo Trucks, added: “If you take away everything that can happen to the driver outside the truck, then repetitive motion from uneven roads and from steering and gear-changing – so-called ‘whole-body vibration’ – is the biggest cause of occupational injuries.

“A road is never completely smooth; the body will shake with the motion.

“This creates what in ergonomics is called RSI – ‘Repetitive Strain Injury’.

“It is a wearing of the muscle, just like tennis elbow, for example.”

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