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How Operator Comfort Affects Productivity

Michael Roth
RER Magazine


How Operator Comfort Affects Productivity

Expert Q&A - Mar 18

What is “operator comfort” and why is it important?

Operator comfort means that the operator is comfortable with the actual physical setup in the cab. Is the seat comfortable? Are the joystick and other operator controls easy to reach? Does the operator have to strain to reach things? Is it easy to see the working area? Are mirrors set up so that the operator doesn’t have to strain to see behind him or to the side or to the right or left? Are there temperature controls so the operator is neither too hot nor too cold while working?

Operator comfort is important because an equipment operator will be more productive if he is comfortable. In the rental industry, different operators will often use the same machines and the more comfortable they are, the more likely they are to be productive.

How does operator comfort impact job site performance?

Working on a job site can be stressful. If an operator is uncomfortable, the chances are much greater that he’ll develop a headache, backache or a sore, stiff neck. If an operator feels physically sore, he will tire more quickly and not be nearly as productive in his work. Also, if the operator feels tired or is in physical discomfort, he may tend to rush his work to finish more quickly, leading to a more unsafe working environment. More job site accidents occur when operators are tired or feeling physically uncomfortable, bothered by aches and pains that may distract him. The same goes if he is too cold or too hot. He is more likely to be less productive or to overlook safety procedures because he is in a hurry to finish, instead of working in a calm, controlled manner.

What’s driving the increase in equipment features designed to make the operator more comfortable?

Increasing awareness of ergonomic issues in all workplaces translates to the need to provide a comfortable environment for operators. Equipment manufacturers know that they must provide a comfortable working environment for competitive reasons – each manufacturer knows its competitors are also aware of this.