A Quick Look at Nail Gun Safety

Nail Gun On Work Space

Though nail guns are an important tool, especially in residential construction, they can also be very dangerous. Nail gun accidents are responsible for over 37,000 emergency room visits every year, with 68% of accidents occurring on the job. Many thousand other accidents are never treated professionally, with two out of every five carpentry apprentices reporting a nail gun accident in their first four years on the job. Nail gun safety is no laughing matter and deserves a place in your business' safety training and procedures. Here's a look at how to keep nail guns working safely on the job.

  • Half of all nail gun injuries involve the hands, with over a quarter involving tendons, muscles, joints, bones and nerves, which could lead to a disability case. The remaining injuries were most commonly to the leg, with a smaller amount in the torso and other parts of the body. The most dangerous injuries are to the head, neck, spinal cord, internal organs and eyes.
  • Nail Gun On WoodTriggers are important to nail gun safety. They typically require operation of mechanisms in a particular order, and then will fire either one nail per trigger pull, called a full sequential trigger, a nail for every bump of a safety contact, called a contact trigger, a nail for every pull of the trigger after the safety contact is depressed, called a single sequential trigger, or a nail for safety contact and trigger pull in any order, called a single actuation trigger. The series of actions required for a full sequential trigger makes it a much safer option on the job site.
  • Unintentional nail discharges are the next safety area to keep in mind. This can happen when you get a double nail from a contact nailer or from knocking the safety contact against something with the trigger pulled, causing an unintentional discharge. They can happen when a worker is pushing too hard on the nail gun to compensate for recoil or if the worker is in a tight or awkward position to get the shot. Make sure your workers are aware of how the nail gun works and that they keep their finger off the trigger except when driving a nail.
  • Blow-through of lumber can happen when your line pressure is cranked up too high or when a worker misses a stud and blows through lighter weight material such as oriented strand board or plywood. It can also be caused when there are knots in the wood that turn the nail and allow it to pass out of the material entirely. This can happen with every type of nail gun. Make sure your workers know to slow down and do the job right instead of rushing.
  • A nail can ricochet if it strikes metal or a hard surface. This is a common problem when you're dealing with renovations or repairs to an existing home. The nail essentially bounces off the surface and becomes an airborne projectile. It's also a common problem in hard laminate beams, so make sure your compressor is set at a pressure to ensure the nail will penetrate properly.
  • Missing the work piece or bypassing the nailer's safety features are the final two issues that can cause accidents with nail guns on the job. As with blow-through, make sure that your crew is taking the time to get the job done correctly the first time instead of causing potential accidents by missing the piece. Safety features should never be bypassed on any of your equipment.

By keeping these issues and examples in mind, you can quickly improve the safety of nail guns used on your job site. If you find that you need additional safety equipment or require replacements for tools that have been found unsafe on the job site, please feel free to contact us today. At Wallboard Supply Company, we're dedicated to helping you keep your crew moving safely on the job site.

Nail Gun Safety CTA

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.