Scientific proof MOVE Training reduces risk of shoulder injury in forklift drivers

Written by Terry Wong


Move 4 Life has been working with warehouse workers for more than 10 years and we constantly hear forklift drivers speak about neck and shoulder pain.

MOVE Training has helped thousands of people change the way they drive a forklift truck and we have heard again and again of reduced ache, strain and pain after applying what they learn. Of course, there has been some clinical reasoning as to why we know what we teach works but we have had no hard proof.

Until now ...

EMG technology provides scientific data

forklift shoulder sensor 422x443In the last couple of years we have been using some new-to-the-market sensor technology that is validating much of what we have been teaching for more than a decade.

When it comes to forklift driving, it is remarkable how slight changes in driving technique can significantly reduce the load and risk of injury to the shoulders.

Forklift driving and shoulder injuries

Here is a summary of the results of our analysis showing how changes to driving techniques can reduce the risk of shoulder injuries:

  • Common forklift driving techniques result in up to 90% unnecessary muscle activity, increasing the risk of a rotator cuff shoulder injury.
  • Using a simple ‘elbows in’ driving position taught in MOVE Training, this results in 70% less shoulder muscle load – it’s more comfortable and creates less fatigue over time.
  • Modifying the forklift driver’s grip on the steering wheel taught in MOVE Training can further reduce shoulder muscle load by another 23% (93% less muscle activity when compared to an elbows out technique).
 Left Upper Trapezius EMG activityImpact of driving technique on upper traps activityMean ElevationImpact of driving technique on average shoulder elevation
Common driving position 29,073 counts   75°  
Wings In position with hand over position 8,638 counts 70% reduction 46° 39% reduction
Wings In position with thumbs up 2,072 counts 93% reduction 39° 48% reduction


forklift elbows out

Common “elbows out” driving position.

The "Elbows in/palm over” driving position resulting in 70% less upper traps muscle activity.

forklift elbows in palm over

forklift elbows in handshake

The "Elbows in/handshake” driving position resulting in 93% less upper traps muscle activity.


Get in touch and we’ll introduce you to the Move 4 Life SYSTEM which is acknowledged as the benchmark in reducing sprain and strain injuries and includes MOVE Training where we can teach a range of options for reducing shoulder injuries amongst forklift drivers.

About the Author

Terry Wong

Terry Wong

Terry Wong is General Manager of Move 4 Life, the benchmark in preventing sprain and strain injuries and future-proofing an ageing workforce. Move 4 Life helps companies send employees home to their families safely each day.

A Physiotherapist by-trade, Terry has spent the last 14 years in workplace rehabilitation, occupational health, injury-prevention and training. He has held a position as Chair of the Occupational Health Group of the Australian Physiotherapy Association and is widely published on these subjects.

You can find Terry’s LinkedIn profile here.

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