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Bus drivers in better health thanks to revised ISO standard

by Sandrine Tranchard on
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Buses and bus driver

A recently revised ISO standard will help take the pain out of the demanding job of driving line service buses - primarily urban and inter-urban buses.

Bus drivers are at high risk of developing lower back pain and pain in neck, knees and ankles due to their prolonged sitting position. The revised ISO standard will improve the ease of operation, ergonomics and comfort for them.

ISO 16121-1:2012, Road vehicles - Ergonomic requirements for the driver’s workplace in line-service buses - Part 1: General description, basic requirements, will help the designers of buses to develop an overall ergonomic concept for the driver’s workplace.

It provides basic requirements for an ergonomic and comfortable seating position, which is essential to keep drivers in a good state of health. The complete driver’s workplace is taken into account: the size of the driver’s workplace, the reach and access to controls and displays in the driver’s workplace, and access to stowage compartments.

To stay healthy, it is essential that the drivers are able to adopt an ergonomic and comfortable seating position in a well-designed environment. The dimensions and mounting positions of a driver's seat, pedals and steering wheel should be carefully chosen to enable drivers to sit in an ergonomic seating position. With a healthy and comfortable posture, the driver is less stressed and can better concentrate on what is happening on the road.

The recommended requirements in this standard are based on the scientific conclusions of the research project, “Driver’s workplace in the line-service bus”, conducted in Germany and on ergonomic studies related to the design of an enhanced driver workplace conducted in the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Ase Lindstrom, leader of the task force that developed the revised standard, comments: “A well designed bus driver’s workplace helps to eliminate ergonomic defects and reduces physical and psychological stress for the driver. For designers, implementing the standard for the conception of the workplace will also avoid cost-intensive specific development.”

It is also essential that the designer refers to the specifications and requirements of all parts of ISO 16121, before completing the design of a driver’s workplace. ISO 16121 consists of the following parts under the general title, Road vehicles - Ergonomic requirements for the driver’s workplace in line-service buses:

Part 1: General description, basic requirements
Part 2: Visibility
Part 3: Information devices and controls
Part 4: Cabin environment

ISO 16121-1 was developed by ISO technical committee, ISO/TC 22, Road vehicles, subcommittee SC 13, Ergonomics applicable to road vehicles. It is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 80 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.