There are several different types of forklift seats available as direct factory replacements or as upgraded seating. They include ultra-soft forklift seats designed for comfort and tilt-up models that offer little in cushioning, but plenty in the ability to tilt up to remove rainwater from the seat. Many models and styles of forklift seats are similar to other models, with only a small differentiating feature of the seat to differentiate the seat from others. Some seats offer leg and shoulder protection in the event of a rollover, while others provide high-back neck and head protection.
One of the most uncomfortable features of the forklift, for many operators, is the seat. Many of the original forklift seats are manufactured from very hard foam to increase the seat's durability, and sitting on this type of seat for an extended period of time can be very uncomfortable. Replacing hard forklift seats with softer versions can not only increase employee morale, it can reduce injuries related to the unforgiving nature of the stock seat materials. Even the slightest bump can be transmitted through the hard seat and into the hips and spine of the operator, creating sore spots and injuries.
Some forklift seats are available on a swiveling base to allow the operator to get on and off of the machine without twisting the torso, which can result in injury. The use of swiveling seats can also eliminate the possibility of banging the operators' knees into the steering gear and creating injuries. Choosing forklift seats that have adjustable tracks under the seat can provide comfort options for different-sized operators. This can also convert into better control and better operation of the forklift by placing the operator in a more comfortable seating position to the steering wheel, foot pedals and other mast controls.
Seats equipped with armrests can also offer the operator a more comfortable operating posture. The arm rests can be used to place an inventory sheet on as the operator fills a specific order. When used in cold climates, electrically heated seating can often allow an operator to work much longer between breaks, thereby increasing the productivity of the operator during a typical shift. No matter the reason for changing forklift seats, the ultimate goal is often to provide a more comfortable machine for an operator to work from. This equates to less down time due to poor blood circulation in the legs and feet, as well as increased safety by allowing the operator to have better visibility from a seat that can be appropriately adjusted to suit her.