Among other tools, workers on construction sites often use nail guns on the job. These easy to operate, powerful tools have largely replaced hammers for nailing tasks for their increased efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, however, nail guns contribute to a substantial number of occupational injuries each year.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nail guns present several workplace hazards. Each year, nail gun accidents result in approximately 37,000 visits to emergency departments across the U.S. Numerous factors contribute to the occurrence of such accidents, including unintended nail discharges from double fires. Compensating for the recoil, new workers especially may push too hard on the tool, resulting in a second and unintended firing. Unintended discharges may also occur as a result of workers mistakenly knocking the safety tip or pushing it against an object or person. Nail ricochets, missing the workpiece, penetration of the nail through the workpiece, awkward positioning and bypassing of the safety mechanisms may also contribute to the occurrence of nail gun-related injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nail gun accidents are preventable. Using full sequential trigger nail guns may help cut down on worker injuries, as may using the appropriate personal protective equipment when working with nail guns. Should a nail gun accident occur and result in an injury, it may help for workers to report the incidents to their employers so they may implement measures to avoid future injuries.
For their part, employers of workers who use nail guns on the job may also take steps to prevent nail gun injuries. Employers should provide workers training on the appropriate and safe use of nail guns, as well as discuss injuries or near accidents in order to help prevent future incidents.