Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Urban Bus Drivers of Hong Kong
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Introduction: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) affect workers in many occupations including drivers of large vehicles. Urban bus drivers have been found to have high prevalence rates of back problems in overseas studies. Hong Kong is a densely populated city and has a large number of double-deck buses that constitute a major means of public transportation. The present study aimed at investigating the prevalence and characteristics of WMSD in male and female bus drivers who operate double-deck buses in Hong Kong. Method: Altogether 481 bus drivers (404 males, 77 females) participated in the study that consisted of a questionnaire survey as well as physical assessment. The questionnaire included questions on work, musculoskeletal complaints and perceived occupational risk factors associated with each discomfort. Physical assessment consisted of measurement of lumbar spine mobility, hand grip strength, sit-and-reach test, and observation of standing and sitting postures. Results: The results showed generally the male drivers had longer years of work experience but their daily workloads were similar to the females. On the average drivers worked 9–10 h per day, with 5 days on and 1 day off. Neck, back, shoulder and knee/thigh areas had the highest 12-month prevalence rates ranging from 35% to 60%, and about 90% of the discomfort was related to bus-driving. Occupational factors of prolonged sitting and anthropometric mismatch were perceived to be most related to musculoskeletal discomfort. On physical examination, grip strength was significantly related to neck and shoulder discomfort. Conclusions: The present results showed high prevalence rates of WMSD among bus drivers in Hong Kong which warrants further investigation.
KeywordsWork-related musculoskeletal disorders Bus drivers Low back pain Neck pain
The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Raija Kuisma who initiated this research proposal. We would also like to acknowledge Wilson Lam, Friston Lai, Benson Tse, Dickson Lam, Clara Lee and Linda Chan who have assisted in the data collection and analysis process. We would like to thank the Hong Kong Occupational Safety and Health Council for sponsoring this project and the Motor Vehicle and Transportation Workers’ Union for their collaboration in recruiting their members for this project.
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