Review of bus drivers' occupational stress and stress prevention


  • Michiel A. J. Kompier,

    Corresponding author
    1. TNO Health & Prevention, Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Nÿmegen, The Netherlands
    • Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Nÿmegen, P.O. Box 9107, 6500 HE Nÿmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Vittorio Di Martino

    1. International Labour Office, Conditions of Work and Welfare Facilities Branch, Working Conditions and Environment Department, Geneva, Switzerland
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    • The opinions expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the ILO.


Although heterogeneous in methodology and content, 32 studies from 13 countries on bus drivers' work and health are similar in their conclusions. Bus-driving–characterized by high demands, low control and low support – can be regarded as a classic example of high-strain occupation, with high risks of physical and mental occupational ill-health, leading to absenteeism and to decreased productivity of employees and enterprises. Several recommendations – some of them already being implemented by bus companies – are presented in order to reduce work stress in bus drivers. They relate to: (a) ergonomics of the bus cabin, (b) job rotation and ‘combination jobs’, (c) timetables, shift schedules and quality of break periods, and (d) the social work environment and management style. Stress monitoring and stress reduction is not merely a technical process based on a technical analysis and on the simple ‘straightforward’ realization of recommendations and findings. It relates to changing and improving organizations and organizational processes. Such organization changes can best be obtained through a stepwise and participative approach. There are indications that those companies that invest in preventive measures receive their rewards.