View from 30: CMG Plastics Combines Sight and Sound to Increase Safety

Business gurus often talk about the view from 30,000 feet – the big picture that provides a look at overall operations. Perhaps, however, the focus should be on the view from 30 feet – a close-up of specific processes and procedures that make an impact now.

By Lindsey Munson, editor, Plastics Business

Inspired by Kmart® and its “blue light special” method to entice customers to hurry throughout the store and shop the discounts, CMG Plastics creatively took the iconic “blue light” method and innovatively launched it in its Brantford, Ontario, facility. Like Kmart®’s method, CMG’s goal is to entice employees to hurry “out of the way” as machines such as a forklift maneuvers throughout the production floor.

Founded in 2006, CMG Plastics is a manufacturer of custom and stock rigid plastic packaging products and components including bottles, containers, jars, closures, lids and much more. With two plant locations in Somerville, New Jersey, and Brantford, Ontario, CMG supports a range of industries including food and beverage, healthcare, consumer products and many others.

Additionally, CMG utilizes three manufacturing platforms: injection molding, injection stretch blow molding and extrusion blow molding.

Jens Duerr, director of marketing and business development for CMG, shared, “At CMG Plastics, we never stop looking for opportunities and advancements that improve how we manufacture, operate and fulfill orders.” Like a revolving door, CMG is in constant motion across its two facilities – researching, testing new safety practices and implementing ways to make its facilities safer and more efficient for employees, as well as conducting day-to-day operations.

The blue light (also known as the forklift spotter) first was implemented on forklifts in CMG’s Ontario facility and recently was installed on all forklifts in the New Jersey facility. Duerr said, “It is an inexpensive and simple way to make the facilities safer for both pedestrians and employees.”

“Our facilities, like so many others, can have elevated noise levels, especially when machinery is in use. Therefore,” Duerr said, “the normal ‘beeping’ sound that a forklift makes can be hard to hear at times. Additionally, when you add all the possible blind corners in a warehouse, it can be difficult to hear and see a forklift until it’s too late.”

CMG took the blue light to its forklifts – mounting the light onto the back side of each forklift. The blue light projects a circle approximately 15 feet behind the forklift across the floor, giving any nearby pedestrian or employee a visual cue that the forklift is operating in the area and that the individual should proceed with caution.

CMG partnered with Grainger, a supplier headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, that offers a broad range of industrial equipment, maintenance supplies, tools and parts. CMG purchased from Grainger the IRONGUARD Safety Light Blue Led (48WH75 / model 70-1095) for its forklift trucks, a light that’s 4″ wide x 5″ tall and is packaged with mounting hardware.

Duerr said, “The installation was quick and easy! The forklift lights were installed by our in-house maintenance staff. Currently, we have not had to replace any of the lights thus far, and there hasn’t been any ongoing maintenance required.”

CMG Plastics shared in its blog post on March 8, “Three words connect Kmart® and CMG Plastics: Taking fast action. In the case of Kmart®, it was moving customers quickly around in their stores to shop. In our case, it means moving people quickly. And a blue light makes them both happen. We’ve created an ingenious ‘Plan B’ and outfitted our forklifts with a laser light that projects a large blue circle on the floor. Every time one backs up, it provides a clear visual warning behind so that anyone wearing earplugs can take fast action and move to a safe area.”

CMG took safety to the next level, combining sight and sound to advance its forklifts on the facility production floor, ultimately creating a safe space for employees and customers to operate in daily – and that’s a “blue light special.”