Manufacturers have slowly come to realize that ergnonomics make a difference on forklifts. Having recently had the opportunity to compare some older and newer units, I now realize what a difference those small improvements make to the operator who is using the forklift day in day out. So if you are in the market to buy a new forklift, do consider this factor.
Some examples: on narrow aisle reach trucks a padded area for the operator’s back and an anti-fatigue floor mat; on sit down counterbalanced forklifts seats that move up and down as well as forward and back and have cushioning in the seat (forklifts have no suspension, it can be a very bumpy ride). Some even have all the hydraulic function controls built into an arm rest instead of the push pull levers.
All these features can make a big difference – compare them before buying and do ask your operators what they would most like in their new machine. A comfortable operator is a happier and more productive operator.