Ensuring driver comfort in heavy lift machines has significant benefits

Employee driver comfort is a major contributing factor to a healthy and functional work environment. Comfort often makes people happier, and when people are happy, they tend to work harder, which has a positive impact on workplace productivity.

For drivers of forklifts and other heavy lifting machines, who spend at least eight hours a day behind the wheel, the most important thing is the feeling of being secure and comfortable and being able to do their jobs with precision and effectiveness.

The health and well-being of drivers is critical, as discomfort can lead to health issues, including back pain, muscle strain and fatigue. Providing a comfortable workspace can help reduce the risk of chronic health problems and improve overall well-being.

“People are your most valuable assets, so there should be no short-cuts to making drivers of heavy lift machines feel comfortable. Prioritising driver comfort is a win-win for both operators and the organisations that rely on heavy lift trucks for their operations,” says Lenny Naidoo, Acting National Operations Manager at CFAO Equipment SA’s Heavy Lift division, which sells big forklifts to container handlers and the ports industry.

“Employees generally spend more than half of their waking hours in the workspace, so driver comfort should be non-negotiable. By investing in forklifts and other heavy lifting machines that boast ergonomic designs and comfortable features, companies not only improve efficiency and reduce operational costs, but they can also reduce the long-term costs associated with workplace injuries, sick leave, and employee turnover,” says Naidoo.

Comfortable operators are less likely to take unnecessary breaks or rush through their tasks, which can result in reduced efficiency and potential damage to goods or equipment. Discomfort or fatigue can lead to distraction and reduced attention, increasing the risk of accidents. A comfortable operator is less likely to make errors, which could lead to dangerous situations. They are also more alert and focused.

“Driver-friendly trucks facilitate the well-being and work of the drivers. Cabins that are well-designed for long shifts and demanding conditions lead to relaxed and more effective drivers,” says Naidoo.

“To enhance driver comfort in its range of heavy lifting machines, Konecranes incorporates features such as adjustable seating, ergonomic controls, noise insulation, climate control systems, and smooth suspension.”

The OPTIMA cabin, designed and built by Konecranes Lift Trucks, offers comfort and superior visibility for drivers. Both the cabin and the truck itself can be customised to fit specific needs, so all operations on the ground can run safely and smoothly.

Ergonomically advanced instrumentation is conveniently accessible, improving driver posture and positioning during operation. An excellent driver’s seat, which features compressor suspension for extra comfort and support, cabin heating, air conditioning and radio with USB, are some of the comforts that are provided.

Safety first overrides the design of the OPTIMA cabin and the driver’s sightlines are unobstructed to allow excellent visibility to key working areas which are clear in front, to the sides, and to the rear.

An electronic joystick control is available as standard on all machines, with auto accelerator/power control on Konecranes reach stackers and container handlers. The lifting levers also offer ultra-smooth and effortless touch control at every point of a handling operation.

Cabins feature the industry’s first seven-inch touch screen colour display which provides full truck monitoring including eco-drive, fuel management and a personal driver login. The touch screen monitor supports an optional integrated rear-view camera and tyre pressure monitoring.

When you step inside the OPTIMA cabin, you find outstanding spaciousness and superior visibility. That makes operating the lift truck safe and efficient. The remarkable visibility is made possible by very large, lowered windows with no corner posts, a thin but very strong roof crossmember, and curved panels.

“Konecranes machines probably have the best cabs on the market in terms of visibility, ergonomic design, noise levels and comfort. The cab is designed so that drivers can easily reach all the controls and check all functions at a glance. This allows them to concentrate on getting their job done more effectively,” says Naidoo.

“When it comes to driver comfort, the benefits are clear, and there is no doubt that Konecranes cabins are leaders in the market to enhance driver comfort and wellbeing. Konecranes puts drivers in a position to succeed, and to be their best at what they do,” concludes Naidoo.