Avoid nail gun injuries

Reprints

Nail guns are helpful tools, but they also have the potential to cause injury. NIOSH notes that nail gun injuries result in an estimated 37,000 emergency department visits every year, with 68 percent of these visits involving workers.

NIOSH states that seven common risk factors contribute to nail gun injuries:

  1. Unintentional nail discharge from double fire
  2. Unintentional nail discharge due to knocking the safety contact with the trigger squeezed
  3. A nail penetrating completely through a piece of lumber
  4. A nail ricocheting after striking a hard surface
  5. A worker completely missing the work target
  6. Using a nail gun in awkward positions
  7. Circumventing safety mechanisms

Basic safety tips to remember when operating a nail gun include:

  • Never fire a nail gun when co-workers are in its path.
  • Make sure your finger is completely off the trigger when holding or carrying a nail gun.
  • Clear a jam only after disconnecting the hose.
  • Ensure your free hand is at least 12 inches away from the nailing location.
  • Know where studs are when shooting plywood.
  • Allow plenty of room for recoil, or “kickback.”
  • Be extra cautious when nailing in tight, awkward spaces; toe nailing; or nailing from a ladder.
  • Always use your dominant hand to operate a nail gun.