Posted on Leave a comment

Nail Guns, did the SUPERVISOR cover all the types and safety items before work!

Why do we call it a GUN simple Sherlock, because it fires something and in this case a sharp projectile!

“Nail guns are powerful…. They are responsible for an estimated 37,000 emergency room visits each year — 68% of these involve workers.”  You write safety items and concerns down on your tool box meeting but do re-educate or discuss the training parts of the risks?

Like the following:

Six Steps to Nail Gun Safety

1. Use the full sequential trigger

2. Provide training

3. Establish nail gun work procedures

4. Provide personal protective equipment

5. Encourage reporting and discussion of injuries and close calls

6. Provide first aid and medical treatment

Injuries resulting from use of nail guns hospitalize more construction workers than any other tool-related injury. Most nail gun injuries are puncture wounds to hands and fingers, but some accidents have caused far more serious injuries and even death. It’s not just people who use nail guns who are at risk, but also people who work beside them.

Who is covering WHAT on site and are you FULLY trained, you know that competency definition under law and in the courts.

• At a minimum, provide full sequential trigger nailers for placement work where the lumber needs to be held in place by hand. Examples include building walls and nailing blocking, fastening studs to plates and blocks to studs, and installing trusses. Unintended nail discharge is more likely to lead to a hand or arm injury for placement work compared to flat work, where the lumber does not need to be held in place by hand. Examples of flat work include roofing, sheathing, and subflooring.

• Consider restricting inexperienced employees to full sequential trigger nail guns starting out. Some contractors using more than one type of trigger on their jobs color-code the nail guns so that the type of trigger can be readily identified by workers and supervisors.

• Some contractors have been reluctant to use full sequential triggers fearing a loss of productivity. How do the different types of triggers compare? The one available study had 10 experienced framers stick-build two identical small (8 ft x 10 ft) wood structures—one using a sequential trigger nail gun and one using a contact trigger nail gun. Small structures were built in this study so that there would be time for each carpenter to complete two sheds. Average nailing time using the contact trigger was 10% faster, which accounted for less than 1% of the total building time when cutting and layout was included.

In health and safety we recognize that these tools are essential to the workplace, but we also know that many injuries can be prevented. In turn, prevention comes from understanding the best ways to operate nail guns, recognizing how some devices pose greater risks than others, and realizing that using nail guns properly can help make a work site more productive and safe.

Training comes in many forms on site!

Hands-on training with the actual nailers to be used on the job. This gives each employee an opportunity to handle the nailer and to get feedback on topics such as:

– How to load the nail gun – How to operate the air compressor

– How to fire the nail gun

– How to hold lumber during placement work

– How to recognize and approach ricochet-prone work surfaces

– How to handle awkward position work (e.g., toe-nailing and work on ladders)

– How best to handle special risks associated with contact and single actuation triggers such as nail gun recoil and double fires. For example, coach new employees on how to minimize double fires by allowing the nail gun to recoil rather than continuing to push against the gun after it fires

Things like but not limited too

Make sure that tool manuals for the nailers used on the job are always available on the jobsite.

• Make sure that manufacturers’ tool labels and instructions are understood and followed.

• Check tools and power sources before operating to make sure that they are in proper working order. Take broken or malfunctioning nail guns out of service immediately.

Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety uses a comic format to illustrate the potential risks of traumatic injury using nail guns and how these risks can be reduced. Real-life examples from residential building construction are used to explain nail gun traumatic injury risks related to the two different nail gun triggering systems and a variety of residential framing nailing tasks.

The information in Straight Talk About Nail Gun Safety is based on NIOSH focus group discussions with residential building subcontractors, safety specialists and workers.

1. Read the manufacturer’s operating manual before you turn it on. Don’t let an inexperienced worker, relative or friend use a nail gun without training.

2. The nail gun user and everyone working at the site should wear safety glasses. A hard hat, protective footwear, and hearing protection also should be worn.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger when not firing nails. The center of gravity at the trigger makes it easy to fire the nail gun. Be careful! Keep your hands and feet away from the muzzle of the nail gun.

4. Never rest the nail gun against any body part, or try to climb a ladder with the nail gun cradled against your body. Never point a nail gun at anyone.

5. Watch out for other crew, family members or friends working nearby.

6. Never use bottled gas to power air-powered nail guns.

7. Always disconnect the nail gun from its air or electrical power source before reloading nails, trying to free a jammed nail or carrying the device out of your work area.

8. Never use your foot or knee to support wood you are nailing.


9. Never use a nail gun with a missing push lever and muzzle safety spring.

Do you and your teams follow the safety rules:

• Set up operations so that workers are not in the line of fire from nail guns being operated by co-workers.

• Check lumber surfaces before nailing. Look for knots, nails, straps, hangers, etc. that could cause recoil or ricochet.

• Use a hammer or positive placement nailer when nailing metal joinery or irregular lumber.

• For placement work, keep hands at least 12 inches away from the nailing point at all times. Consider using clamps to brace instead of your hands.

• Always shoot nail guns away from your body and away from co-workers.

• Always disconnect the compressed air when: – Leaving a nailer unattended;

– Travelling up and down a ladder or stairs;

– Passing the nail gun to a co-worker;

– Clearing jammed nails;

– Performing any other maintenance on the nail gun.

• Recognize the dangers of awkward position work and provide extra time and precautions:

– Use a hammer if you cannot reach the work while holding the nailer with your dominant hand.

– Use a hammer or reposition for work at face or head height. Recoil is more difficult to control and could be dangerous.

– Use a hammer or full sequential trigger nailer when working in a tight space. Recoil is more difficult to control and double fires could occur with contact triggers.

– Take extra care with toe-nailing. Nail guns can slip before or during firing because the gun cannot be held flush against the work piece. Use a nail gun with teeth on the safety contact to bite into the work piece to keep the gun from slipping during the shot. Use the trigger to fire only after the safety contact piece is positioned.

• Recognize the dangers of nail gun work at height and provide extra time and precautions:

– Set up jobs to minimize the need for nailing at height.

– Consider using scaffolds instead of ladders.

– If work must be done on ladders, use full sequential trigger nailers to prevent nail gun injuries which could occur from bumping a leg while climbing up or down a ladder.

– Position ladders so you don’t have to reach too far. Your belt buckle should stay between the side rails when reaching to the side.

Don’t forget NOISE, MSI events and AIR Safety!


Pneumatic nail guns produce short (less than a tenth of a second in duration) but loud “impulse” noise peaks: one from driving the nail and one from exhausting the air. Most nail gun manufacturers recommend that users wear hearing protection when operating a nailer. Available information indicates that nail gun noise can vary depending on the gun, the work piece, air pressure, and the work setting. The type of trigger system does not appear to affect the noise level. Peak noise emission levels for several nailers ranged from 109 to 136 dBA.

These loud short bursts can contribute to hearing loss. Employers should provide hearing protection in the form of earplugs or muffs  and ensure that they are worn correctly. Employers should also ask about noise levels when buying nail guns—industry and manufacturers have  identified ways to reduce nail gun noise and some manufacturers may incorporate noise reduction features.

Musculoskeletal disorders.

Framing nail guns can weigh up to 8 pounds and many framing jobs require workers to hold and use these guns for long periods of time in awkward hand/arm postures. Holding an 8-pound weight for long periods of time can lead to musculoskeletal symptoms such as soreness or tenderness in the fingers, wrist, or forearm tendons or muscles. These symptoms can progress to pain, or in the most severe cases, inability to work. No studies have shown that one trigger type is any more or less likely to cause musculoskeletal problems from long periods of nail gun use. If use of a nail gun is causing musculoskeletal pain or symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders, medical care should be sought.

Terry Penney

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.