It’s important to know what to look for in heavy equipment cabs when you’re purchasing new or used machinery for your fleet. The cab design can greatly affect worker satisfaction and productivity—not to mention job site safety.
Well-designed cabs have logical control layouts, they’re built ergonomically for maximum operator comfort and support, they offer high visibility, and they’re adjustable to account for the fact that different operators are different sizes.
Poorly designed cabs can hurt workers and the company’s bottom line. They can cause back pain, other discomfort, and injuries in operators. Plus, uncomfortable seating and difficult controls contribute to construction worker fatigue, which reduces productivity and jeopardizes the safety of everyone in the immediate area. Even when fatigue doesn’t factor in, poor control layout hinders productivity and the operator’s ability to respond quickly to changes in the environment or dangers.
Below are some key things to consider to determine whether a particular piece of heavy equipment has a well-designed cab. Keep in mind that these are generalizations; not every item on the list necessarily applies to every single type of cab.
Evaluating Construction Equipment Cab Design
- Evaluate whether the seat is comfortable and be sure it offers back support
- The seat should be adjustable to accommodate operators of different heights
- Does the seat tilt back or swivel for easier operator movements?
- Confirm that the seat is securely mounted to the floor of the cab
- Make sure the seat is high enough for good visibility
- Are there armrests, and are they adjustable?
- Because vibrations can cause fatigue and discomfort, determine whether they’re felt (and how strongly) through the seat, floor, and controls when the machine is on
- Main operator controls and pedals should be within easy, comfortable reach
- It’s helpful when the level or positions of certain major controls are adjustable
- Controls that are customizable for operator preferences or different applications are always helpful
- The cab should be large enough that operators don’t have to scrunch up and they won’t feel cramped
- Is the cab designed to maximize visibility in all directions, and are there enough well-placed mirrors?
- Rear-view cameras greatly improve safety
- Check that visibility isn’t cut off in places by poorly placed frames, cab guards, pipes, hoses, etc.
- Cabs are much more comfortable when they have temperature controls
- Does the cab offer a sufficient level of sound dampening?
- Look for steps and handrails that make entering and exiting the cab easy and safe
- Test out the cab door to make sure it opens and closes easily