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Ford Happy Seat Keeps Employees Safe and Healthy

In order to address issues such as an aging workforce and the physical tolls of long-term working on the line, Ford has partnered with industry experts to improve ergonomics, safety and productivity for its employees. This is how the “Happy Seat” was created - a swivel chair attached to a rod-shaped suspension.This enables workers to sit in comfort on the production line while assembling cars.

Today, "Happy Seats" are in use at Genk (Belgium), Cologne (Germany, Valencia (Spain), and Saarlouis (Germany).

Other measures implemented by Ford to keep its employees healthy include movable platforms to raise vehicle chassis to different heights at various workstations, preventing excessive stretching and bending by employees; virtual software programs to design the
most ergonomic production processes; and Santos, a computerized avatar or character that performs actions in the virtual world to help Ford improve quality, safety and ergonomics for its assembly line employees.

“It’s called the "Happy Seat" for a good reason – it makes a tough job easier for workers in our plants,”
said Eilis Carey, senior ergonomist for Ford of Europe. “Operations which previously required awkward postures to be maintained for prolonged periods can now be performed in a seated position with adequate lumbar support.”

“The ergonomics of the workstation are improved and operators’ discomfort and fatigue are reduced, leading to reduced injuries and illnesses, fewer lost work days, and improved quality of the operations,”
Carey said.

“Employees just push themselves back and forth and the chair swings in and out of the cabin – very simply and not requiring much physical effort. And their back feels fine, allowing employees to remain in employment longer to the benefit of Ford,”
added Martin Chapman, operations manager in Cologne plant, where Ford produces the Fiesta.


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