NEW YORK, NY – Though buses and trains are constantly on the move in New York City and other municipalities across the country, those that operate them spend most of their work hours seated in a stress environment.
While helping people get around a city can be rewarding, the sedentary nature, challenging conditions, and irregular schedules often puts workers at risk for stress and weight gain. Based on research, a new bus or train operator may gain between 5 and 20 pounds in their first year if employers and workers do not take preventive actions.
Bus and train drivers are sitting in one position for hours at a time while navigating any number of traffic hazards or a potential crisis. It’s no surprise that operators can experience high rates of chronic illness and stress-related conditions.
“Public transportation is an important community service and something that anyone who rides the bus can appreciate,” said Ryan Olson, Ph.D., an associate professor in OHSU’s Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. Being a new bus driver – or a newcomer in any industry – can be stressful, and long hours spent sitting and other factors can elevate risks for chronic health conditions in professional drivers,” Olson added.”
Intensive training by employees is critical and must include a component for mental health. Realistic programs need to be available for drivers that keep them healthy and support on the job success. Municipalities should establish wellness programs that include counselling, gym facilities and exceptional healthcare coverage.