Safety Tips Hand tools

Nail gun safety


Photo: Peter Firus/iStock/Thinkstock

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.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)