A Holistic Approach to Improving the Musculoskeletal Health of City Bus and Long-Distance Bus Drivers

Paula Kärmeniemi1, Nina Nevala1, 2, Arto Reiman1, Irmeli Pehkonen1, *
1 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland
2 University of Jyväskylä, Gerontology Research Centre and Department of Health Sciences, Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland

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Pehkonen et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland; Tel: +358 40 7083784; E-mail:



To compare the work-related and lifestyle factors that support the musculoskeletal health of city bus (CB) drivers and long-distance bus (LDB) drivers, and to find solutions for improving drivers’ health.


The participants were 62 bus drivers (aged 34-64 years). Data were gathered using a questionnaire, interviews and a workshop. Altogether 27 CB and 35 LDB drivers responded to the questionnaire, and four drivers were interviewed.


The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) was higher among the CB drivers than among the LDB drivers. The difference was statistically significant (p<0.05) for shoulder pain. The CB drivers more often reported awkward neck postures than the LDB drivers, whereas the LDB drivers performed manual lifting tasks more frequently. The CB drivers were more often exposed to psychosocial load factors and unhealthy lifestyle factors than the LDB drivers. The LDB drivers rated the usability of bus cabs as better than the ratings of the CB drivers.


The needs of both LDB and CB drivers must be considered when ergonomic interventions and a holistic approach are applied in bus trade companies. There is a need for ergonomic bus cabs; good maintenance of buses and work equipment; development of work organization; and training on work ergonomics, lifestyle, and work content issues.

Keywords: Bus drivers, ergonomics, holistic approach, lifestyle, musculoskeletal health, usability.