Nail guns have helped modernize the construction industry. In a split second, you can place a nail without ever picking up a hammer. But the power and speed behind this indispensable tool create significant safety risks for workers, especially for those without the proper training.
Impact of Nail Gun Injuries
According to the CDC, nail gun injuries send an estimated 37,000 people to the ER each year with construction workers accounting for 68% of hospital visits. OSHA reports that nail guns injure more workers than any other construction tool. Preventing injuries from accidental nail gun discharges requires an intentional worker training program and compliance with OSHA standards.
Nail Gun Safety Tips
Here are several practical ways to prevent nail gun injuries.
- Nail guns with sequential triggers are much safer than those with contact triggers. Research suggests that multi shot contract trigger nail guns are twice as likely to cause an injury than a single-shot sequential trigger nail gun.
- Never attempt to modify a nail gun by taking off or bypassing a safety device, contact spring, or trigger.
- Never shoot towards yourself or someone else.
- Disconnect the nail gun from the air supply before attempting to clean it or fix a jam.
- Dense materials like wood knots, metal, and laminated beams increase the risk of nails ricocheting. Avoid nailing into these materials.
- When transporting a nail gun never walk around with your finger on the trigger.
- Never press the trigger unless the nose of the nail gun is in direct contact with the material you’re nailing.
- Never continue using a nail gun that’s not working properly.
To help employers keep their construction workers safe OSHA has created a nail gun safety resource page covering topics including compliance assistance, training, standards, additional resources, and videos.