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Safety Tips | Hand tools

Nail gun safety

July 1, 2012

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When used improperly, pneumatic nail guns can cause severe injuries in a number of ways. When the gun shoots nails all of the way through a material, it could puncture a worker behind the nailing surface, OSHA warns. Additionally, the gun can blow fragments off the nailing surface or fire a nail through electrical wires.

A combination of safe work practices and appropriate personal protective equipment can help mitigate these risks.

OSHA recommends:

  • Follow all manufacturer’s instructions when using a nail gun.
  • Ensure the tool meets all applicable OSHA guarding standards.
  • Wear safety glasses that provide a side shield.
  • Never attempt to modify or circumvent a safety feature.
  • Keep your fingers away from the trigger when not driving nails.
  • Consider using a sequential gun that requires both the trigger and the nose of the gun to be depressed before firing.
  • Always disconnect the gun before performing maintenance, moving to another work area or clearing jams.
  • Position yourself and your free hand out of the line of fire, and watch out for co-workers behind the nailing surface. Never point a nail gun at someone.

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