Elements of a Great Forklift Seat

Forklift seat. (Courtesy: Ashton's Upholstery at flickr.com)

Forklift seat.
(Courtesy: Ashton’s Upholstery at flickr.com)

Forklift operators can often spend six to eight hours per day seated in their forklift seat — or even longer during peak demand. It’s uncomfortable to sit in a comfortable recliner for that long, let alone a tiny forklift that is enclosed within a confining cab and is constantly being banged and jolted.

While there are many companies that promote forklift seats that are supposedly designed for comfort, most operators will tell you that regardless of what features a seat includes, eventually it’s going to be a little hard on the backside.

Still, it’s possible to delay the discomfort when you use a forklift seat that has at least some ergonomically designed features to improve safety and comfort.

Seat Shape

Back in the early days of forklifts, standard seating resembled the bench-type seating found in automobiles of the era. But around the same time automakers started moving toward more comfortable bucket seating, forklift manufacturers began following suit.

Today’s forklift seats are curved to follow the natural shape of the back, hips, and buttocks. This allows for a snugger fit, which not only cuts down on movement and vibration during operations but also is more ergonomically designed to reinforce and support the lower back.

Seat Materials

Many forklifts are in use around the clock. So their seats take a lot of wear and tear just like the other parts of the vehicle. Any forklift operator can tell you that spending several hours sitting on a seat that is broken, has worn springs, or is ripped or torn can be torture.

Consequently, the material that seats are made out need to be durable enough to put up with a lot of abuse. High-quality vinyl, thick leather, and other strong materials prevent seats from becoming ripped or torn easily. Interior support and springs help seats maintain their structure so that they can be used longer before being repaired or replaced.

Bolted Securely

Another consideration is how securely the seat is bolted to the vehicle itself. If the seat is loose, it can slide and pitch with every movement of the forklift. When this is the case, it doesn’t take long for the driver to begin to feel the effects.

Seats also need to be adjustable to account for different sized operators. Spring-loaded, quick-release levers make it simple for drivers to adjust the seat to the length of their legs and body shape. In some cases, the seat may also be adjusted by the same operator to facilitate different operations, such as backing up or looking above or around a load.

Cheap Seat’s Don’t Pay Off 

Buying the least expensive replacement seat is often not the best solution when refurbishing a forklift. Seats that are poorly made will result in driver discomfort. They also usually will have a shorter usable life and need to be replaced more often — so where is the real savings?

To facilitate optimal operations, increased efficiency, and better profitability, it makes sense to make an investment in buying a high-quality, ergonomically correct forklift seat.

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