Truck Driver Ergonomics: How to Protect Your Body on the Road
If you’re a truck driver, you know the job is dangerous. You’re at risk for deadly road accidents or injuries from loading and unloading freight. Or you could suffer by ignoring trucker driver ergonomics. For example, you could develop musculoskeletal disorders by merely sitting in a cab and repeating motions such as gripping the wheel and operating the pedals.
In fact, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers ranked third highest for nonfatal injuries and illnesses in 2017, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself by following safety guidelines for driving and moving freight. You can also preserve your body through truck driver ergonomics. Remember the following:
Prep your seat.
Choose a cushion that’s not too soft and has proper lumbar support. It should meet your back to provide a firm, comfortable rest that minimizes slouching and vibration exposure. Also, ensure the lumbar support isn’t too full because it could cause rounding in your spine.
Lean your entire back against the backrest, with your tailbone situated at the back of the seat. Don’t slouch. And sit close to the wheel, so you put less strain on your shoulders while steering. Keep your thighs completely on the seat, with the back of your knees about one inch from the seat cushion.
Watch your upper body.
Keep your arms slightly inclined while steering, and tuck your elbows in.
Adjust a bit.
Don’t sit completely still during a haul. Instead, adjust your position in the seat occasionally to relieve spinal pressure. Even small movements help.
Move your mirrors.
Position all mirrors so you can check them by moving your eyes and not your head. Remember, repetitive motions cause musculoskeletal disorders, so minimize those as much as possible.
Stretch before and after every haul to keep your muscles loose and healthy.
Of course, this guide only covers general tips for truck driver ergonomics. Every body is different, so talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing pain. They can help you make healthy choices that fit your trucking lifestyle.
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