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A forklift seat is an important part of keeping the forklift and operator working safely. The following is information that many find helpful regarding forklift seats.
What is a bolt pattern?
Bolt pattern refers to the configuration of the bolts used to attach the seat to the forklift.
It is important to match the bolt pattern to the original configuration to ensure the seat will attach properly.
Bolt patterns are not universal. Even within the same brand some models have different bolt patterns than others.
Where can the bolt pattern be located?
There are two ways to locate the bolt pattern.
First, and easiest is the owner’s manual. Look under the category “Forklift Seat” and the you should be able to find the dimensions listed. (Tip: If you do not have the owner’s manual check the manufacture’s website to see if you can download a copy.)
Second, is to measure it. You will need the depth, front to back of the seat, and width, from left to right of the seat. You will need to measure center to center of the of the hole. W x D
In some cases, the bolt pattern my be on the bottom of the seat or on a manufacturer’s sticker or plate.
Essential parts of a forklift replacement seat.
- Seat base
- Seat back
- Seat bracket
- Seat belt *Armrest
The seat base is where the operator sits, contain springs and padding designed to help absorb the impact and vibrations that occur while driving the forklift. Having a seat in good condition will help your operator avoid fatigue after a short period of operation. In some cases, the seat base can be replaced without replacing the entire seat. This is more cost effective and still improves comfort for the operator.
The seat back is the where the operator rests their back. Generally, the seat back is padded and contains springs for comfort. Some seat backs are more ergonomically designed to provide additional comfort for operators that drive for long periods of time. This help protect the operator form soreness and injury decreasing liability and increasing productivity.
The seat bracket connects the seat to the vehicle. Some, not all, replacement seat brackets include adjustable slides that can be used to adjust the seat forward and back to provide a better for the operator depending in their needs.
The seat belt is sometimes included with the replacement seat. It is generally a lap belt only and does not include a shoulder belt.
Although an armrest is not considered essential and not standard on most seats, we would like of you to consider its importance. Imagine driving a long distance in your car and not being able to comfortably rest either arm for hours. Operators that are on the equipment for extended periods of time would benefit from armrests to reduce strain to shoulders, neck and back.
When is a seat replacement required?
There are no regulations that mandate seat replacement. Employers should consider the well-being of their operators. Older seats were made with durability in mind, new seats tend to be more ergonomically designed. Many operators are required to sit for extended periods of time performing repetitive tasks while in awkward positions while enduring constant vibrations and shock. This can lead to decreased productivity and increased liability due to potential injury. Features you may want to consider for ergonomic reasons are:
- Armrests to prevent fatigue
- Swiveling base for increased visibility and a reduction in needless twisting
- Weighted suspension for the comfort of all operators
Is a seat belt required?
OSHA requires employers to protect employees from “serious and recognized hazards.” All powered industrial trucks manufactured after 1992 are required to have seat belts or another type of restraint to minimize the risk of being crushed or “mousetrapped” if the forklift overturns.
Is a forklift operator required to wear the seatbelt?
Yes. OSHA requires seat belts be used when available. The employer is responsible for ensuring operators wear them. If the operator fails to use the seat belt the employer can be cited for failure to comply with OSHA standards.